White spots on teeth are not just an aesthetic defect, but also a sign of incipient disease. Many do not pay enough attention to the manifestation, preferring not to notice, but if measures are not taken in time, the problem will reach a new level – serious pathologies will appear that can significantly ruin a life. The chewing surface of the elements will begin to break down, losing its functions, and will require treatment (urgent, complex, and expensive).
The mechanism of the problem
The health of dental units is provided by a number of substances: these are vitamins A, C, E, D, group B, potassium, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, and others. But the two main elements needed to maintain the functionality of the jaw are calcium and fluoride.
Due to injury, work in toxic production, insufficient hygiene, and the accumulation of pathogenic bacteria on the surface of the enamel, it can lose useful compounds, which causes white spots, dots, or stripes on the teeth (we will consider the result with the photo below).
What does pathology look like?
Initially, a very small speck is found, which is difficult to see with the naked eye. Over time, the focus of demineralization increases. The affected areas lose their natural luster, as the crystalline structure of the substance that covers the dentin is destroyed: it becomes porous, darkens and, due to a change in texture, turns into a reservoir for pathogenic microorganisms. At first, such micro-destructions are painless, which indicates the need for visual control.
Most often, canines and incisors are affected, but sometimes pathology also occurs on the molars. It is important to notice it in time – the process is reversible with early diagnosis. If it is running, only radical methods of treatment will help (drilling, installing a large filling).
Causes of the problem in adults
White spots on teeth enamel can have a different etiology. To make an accurate diagnosis, the doctor examines and interviews the patient: he clarifies how the oral cavity is cared for, and whether there were injuries or other prerequisites for the appearance of remineralization foci.
Whitish matte formations may indicate that the pathological process has begun and will soon make itself felt. The main reason for its development is inadequate hygiene (a person brushes his teeth irregularly, does not thoroughly enough and does not use floss). The disease can also be caused by an excess of carbohydrate foods in the diet, especially fast carbohydrates (white bread, sweets). The resulting plaque becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and a good “groundwork for the future” for the formation of foci of caries.
If you start therapy at this stage, you can get by with non-invasive procedures, while a running process will lead to the destruction of dentin and, as a result, to pulpitis (the diagram of pulp damage can be seen in the illustration).
It is not so easy to injure the jaw in everyday life, but there is an exception: often the cause of white dots and stains on the teeth is the wearing of braces and splints. After the removal of the orthodontic structure, foci of demineralization are found on the surface of the enamel; their occurrence could have been avoided if dietary restrictions and hygiene were observed.
The root cause of lesions under braces is the accumulation of food debris (especially acidic and rich in carbohydrates). That is why doctors advise regularly using an irrigator after installing clamps on the jaw. Surface areas under the locks are poorly moistened with saliva, which aggravates the situation.
Patients who have not been treated by an orthodontist also have white spots on their teeth. They are associated with a constant load:
- Frequent consumption of seeds, nuts, and other hard foods;
- Bruxism (involuntary clenching of the jaws both during sleep and during wakefulness).
Also at risk are athletes involved in contact martial arts.
Industrial or industrial fluorosis
He can be:
- Dashed or spotted (mild form);
- Chalk-speckled (medium severity);
- Erosive and destructive (severe course of the disease).
It occurs due to an excess of fluoride in the patient’s body and also leads to the appearance of chalky or transparent spots, specks, and stripes on the teeth. The disease manifests itself in people who have worked for a long time in industries with a high concentration of fluorides:
- Glass, ceramic, cement;
- Oil producing.
Employees of hazardous enterprises are advised to visit the dentist regularly to identify pathology in the initial stage and undergo timely therapy.
Many dental diseases in an already-born baby are the result of an unhealthy lifestyle for a future mother, a lack of vitamins, and poor ecology.
White spots on teeth in a child often occur due to the underdevelopment of enamel. The foundation for its formation in children is laid during fetal development – at the 7th week of pregnancy. Permanent incisors and molars are formed from 5 months to 7-8 years.
The most popular prerequisites for the spread of pathology:
- Hypovitaminosis D in the mother;
- Transferred rubella;
- Frequent inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract;
- Birth injury.
The problem cannot be prevented with a 100% guarantee, but maximum efforts can be made to reduce the likelihood of its occurrence.
What diseases cause white spots on teeth in children
There are several options here:
- Lack of vitamins or minerals – in this case, in addition to visiting the dentist, it is worth paying a visit to the pediatrician for testing, prescribing drugs, or adjusting the diet.
- Endemic fluorosis – most often occurs in babies living in industrial areas, due to excessive saturation of drinking water with fluorides, if the expectant mother works in hazardous industries during pregnancy. In addition to medical intervention, if possible, you should reconsider your lifestyle, and exclude the use of fluorinating pastes (they are not recommended for children under 4–5 years old).
- The hypoplasia described above is a common cause of white spots on dental radiographs.
- Barely begun caries is the most common option.
The pathological process, which can develop in an adult for several years, in the case of a child, often passes rapidly and leads first to a darkening of the bands on the enamel, and then to the formation of large carious cavities. If the situation is running, the crown will collapse completely, leaving behind only a small black “hole” in place of the element. In addition to physiological reasons, this also happens due to the difficulty in carrying out hygiene procedures, especially older relatives who often treat the baby to sweets (soda, sweets, fine flour bread). To avoid complications, it is recommended to visit the dentist with the child every 2-3 months.
The occurrence of pathology during the gestational period
Pregnancy is stressful for the body and the time during which a woman needs an increased concentration of nutrients in food. The fetus needs minerals and vitamins for the correct formation of all systems and organs, so the expectant mother may experience a deficiency. It happens that foci of demineralization occur due to toxicosis, when, due to constant nausea, an overly acidic environment is created in the mouth.
If a white spot appears on a pregnant woman’s tooth, this means that it is worth visiting not only the dentist but also the gynecologist in order to exclude metabolic disorders and alleviate unpleasant symptoms.
The main symptoms of diseases
Signs of lesions vary, and the prognosis in the absence of timely medical intervention is also different. The final diagnosis should be made only by the attending physician, but the patient can based on the nature of the pathological process, make an assumption about the root of the problem.
- If the enamel is injured, the person most likely knows about it – he recently removed the braces or the jaw was mechanically damaged. Only the area on which pressure was applied or part of the tissue hidden under the orthodontic structure is processed.
- If a child or an adult has white spots on the front teeth (incisors) and molars, the reason is more often in the development of caries. Such neoplasms are localized randomly, but quickly progress, blacken, and deepen. The focus of the disease is single or few.
- With fluorosis, chalky or pale yellow streaks appear, later darkening.
- Hypoplasia is diagnosed in children and adolescents – while neighboring elements usually suffer.
Methods of therapy for pathology in initial caries
Inflammation at the initial stage is treated without the use of a drill and anesthesia: This is a painless manipulation that prevents damage to the dentin, and the enamel after the treatment can be considered healthy. In some cases, only the doctor at the appointment sees white spots on teeth, so these procedures are best done immediately after the problem is discovered.
Chemotherapy is the process of artificial saturation of tissues with micro and macro elements. It is also indicated after prolonged use of splints or braces.
most commonly used by dentists is calcium gluconate. A tampon soaked in the solution is applied to the previously cleaned and disinfected jaw and left for exposure for several minutes. Sometimes the procedure needs to be repeated.
For a permanent result:
- Brush your teeth with a soft brush and low-abrasive toothpaste;
- Exclude too cold and hot, spicy, and sour food for a day or two.
Calcium in bone tissue contains significantly more than fluorine. But the latter plays a decisive role in the process of assimilation of calcium compounds. The best result is obtained by alternating saturation procedures.
The doctor performs the operation manually using a gel, varnish, or tampons containing the desired element. After manipulation for 2 months, it is not recommended to use therapeutic pastes.
Electrophoresis, infiltration, ozonation
These are more complex, but, nevertheless, non-invasive or micro-invasive processes that allow you to restore enamel that begins to decompose without pain relief using:
- Microcurrents delivering the necessary substances (electrophoresis with calcium or fluorine ions);
- ICON lamps, thanks to them the necessary material penetrates into the pores of the surface, restoring the enamel layer (infiltration);
- Gas that disinfects the entire dentition, ridding it of pathogens, followed by the use of a material that prevents the development of caries (ozonation).
The attending physician will offer the patient several options for influencing the choice, and the final decision on what to do if white spots appear on the teeth is made jointly.
Sealing and silvering enamel in children
Fissures are depressions and grooves on the chewing surfaces, thanks to which the jaws can grind food efficiently. Despite their usefulness, with insufficient care, they become a hotbed of inflammation and reproduction of microbes, especially in babies who, due to their age, do not yet fully observe hygiene. Given the fragility of the tissues of the child’s body, this leads to an almost instantaneous development of caries. Sealing (filling) is carried out with a material similar to a filling.
After manipulation, dentists recommend a coating – for example, with silver nitrate, a bactericide that prevents further destruction of the units and keeps the oral cavity sanitized.
Treatment for fluorosis
The technology for removing yellowish and white spots on teeth in this case differs depending on the severity of the situation. Practice:
- Remineralization courses;
- Microabrasion (micro-invasive intervention followed by the application of firming agents);
- Professional whitening (ZOOM or laser).
It is necessary to limit the intake of fluoride in the body, otherwise, the disease will return.
Therapy and restoration work for hypoplasia
With small lesions, remineralization can be dispensed with; in difficult situations, a more serious intervention will be required. The problem is rarely localized to molars and premolars. More often, incisors and canines are underdeveloped. Enamel restoration in this case is impossible, and the only way out is aesthetic restoration. Depending on the degree of decay of the tooth, a veneer, crown, or filling is placed on it, restoring the color and shape.
How to help yourself at home
Remineralization can be carried out at home with special means – after agreement with the attending physician. It will help you choose a gel and a paste (two are often prescribed – with fluorine and with calcium – which is used alternately). It would be useful to reconsider the diet – if there is a lack of certain substances, this affects the state of the enamel. To determine the deficiency of useful elements, it is necessary to take a blood test for their content.
Prevention of white spots
If a person is already an adult, it is too late to prevent hypoplasia, but the development of other pathologies can be avoided. For this you should:
- Brush your mouth twice a day, floss after meals, use a medium-hard brush or soft, low-abrasive pastes;
- Undergo a preventive examination at the dentist 2 times a year, following all the recommendations;
- Eat well (eat enough vegetables and dairy products);
- In case of a confirmed deficiency of nutrients (only in agreement with the doctor), use vitamin-mineral complexes.
White spots on teeth are just the beginning of the disease. Being diagnosed and treated in time, will no longer make itself known, so it is important to regularly assess the condition of the oral cavity visually and contact the dentist if you have questions.
At the Dentika clinic in Voronezh, doctors of the highest class conduct appointments and will always help with solving dental problems, and suggest what needs to be done so that they occur as rarely as possible.