Posted by Matthieu Dash - 19 Oct 2017
What causes white spots on teeth? How can they be removed?
It is not uncommon for us to see patients who don't like the way their teeth look cosmetically. There can be many reasons why people don't like the aesthetic appearance which can range from the positioning of the teeth, to the shapes of the teeth or even the colour. However here we are talking about patients who are asking "how can I remove white spots or marks from my teeth".
There can be numerous different reasons why people have white spots on their teeth. The most common cause tends to be:
Hypomineralisation - A lack of minerals in your teeth can lead to opaque white spots on teeth.
Demineralisation - The mineral content is reduced by bacteria in plaque which can progress to tooth decay. Most commonly a cosmetic issue on front teeth in patients wearing fixed braces with poor oral hygiene and high sugar diets.
Fluorosis - Can occur when excessive amounts of fluoride are ingested during tooth formation.
There are many different ways in which white spots can be removed from teeth which can vary in cost, number of appointments and how invasive the procedure may be. Traditionally dentists may have considered placing veneers on these teeth or even drilling out the white spots and placing white composite fillings to match the existing tooth colour. However now with resin infiltration we have available an option that defines minimally invasive dentistry as they require no anaesthetic, no drilling of tooth structure, and are less invasive on your bank balance!
The first stage prior to the resin infiltration is typically to have professional tooth whitening, which may reduce the size or camouflage the white spots to a level that our patients are happy with aesthetically, without the need for further treatment. Once the tooth whitening is complete we advise a 2 week wait period before commencing with resin infiltration to achieve a predictable and effective result.
Resin infiltration can be carried out in one visit with no anaesthetic and no drilling of tooth structure. It involves placement of a rubber dam to keep the teeth dry and prevent patients ingesting any of the products we use. Following this the teeth are cleaned and various gels and resins are used to infiltrate the white spot lesions.
Here is a case which we carried out with professional tooth whitening and resin infiltration:
Before Treatment After Whitening After Resin Infiltration
White Composite Fillings
This involves most likely numbing the tooth, then drilling away the opaque white areas as well as some healthy tooth structure to allow us to place a filling which will blend with the rest of the tooth.
This is similar to putting on false nails where by the veneer is stuck to the front of the teeth to mask what is underneath. Unlike false nails however we need to make room for the veneers to avoid them making the teeth look too bulky and this involves drilling away part of the the front surface of the tooth.
Posted By Matt Dash BDS