Treating White Spots on Teeth

Most of the time, we think of discolored teeth as being darkened by stains, but it’s actually very common for people to get discolored white spots on teeth. These are often early signs of decay. If properly cared for, they are not necessarily damaging, but many people find them unattractive and want to remove them to improve the appearance of their teeth.

What Are White Spots on Teeth?

White spots on teeth are demineralizations. This means that there is a defect in the enamel of the teeth, where some of the mineral content has been removed or hasn’t properly been built. Common causes of white spots include:

  • Braces

  • Oral decay

  • Fluorosis

  • Erosion

  • Hypocalcification

  • Tetracycline staining

  • Trauma

In some cases, demineralization may be a warning sign of poor oral hygiene, but in other cases, it may be unrelated.

When this demineralization occurs, it changes the color and luster of tooth enamel. If you look closely, you will notice that the spots aren’t just a little whiter than the rest of your tooth—they reflect light differently, too.

Treating White Spots

First, we will talk about the causes of your white spots and determine whether changes to oral hygiene or lifestyle might be necessary to prevent future white spots. Next, we will discuss your treatment options.

There are many ways to treat white spots. Sometimes tooth whitening can help your teeth blend in better with the white spots. Other times, the tooth might be damaged enough that it’s best to treat the white spot as the cavity it is, with a tooth-colored filling. We might try fluoride or amorphous calcium phosphate treatments to encourage remineralization of the white spots.

A relatively new treatment for white spots was announced in 2009. Icon, short for infiltration concept, which allows resin—tooth-colored filling material–to be sucked into the tooth like water is sucked into a sponge. This resin is then hardened, creating a more uniform tooth appearance.

If you are unhappy about white spots on your teeth, we can help. Please call (303) 975-6987 or email us for an appointment at Ascent Dental in the Cherry Creek area of Denver.