White Spots on Teeth

What Are Those White Spots On My Child’s Teeth?

As a child loses a tooth, there is much anticipation of the arrival of the brand new tooth. Sometimes the anticipation felt by the parent is replaced with concern after noticing white spots on the newly erupted tooth. The white spots on teeth could be Hypoplasia or Hypocalcification, conditions that occurs during the development of some teeth. Usually the defect is seen as a white discoloration; however it is not uncommon for a tooth to appear with yellow or brown discolorations as well. The most common teeth affected with hypoplasia or hypocalcification are the first permanent molars and the two front teeth, although it can happen to any tooth in the mouth.

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Hypoplastia & Hypocalcification

The original cause of hypoplasia or hypocalcification is hard to pinpoint but some possibilities include trauma or other unknown disturbances during the mineralization of the tooth, systemic disturbances that happen over a long period of time, and fluorosis (too much fluoride during development). 

Mild forms of hypocalcification typically show as white marks near the chewing edge of the teeth, but can appear anywhere on the tooth. This type of blemish will be more noticeable when the tooth is dry. When the tooth is wet, the spot will diminish or sometimes disappear. The tooth will not usually decay, so observation is the suitable treatment unless cosmetic treatment is considered. Bleaching, composite fillings, veneers and crowns, are among some of the cosmetic procedures available but not recommended until the child is much older.

With more severe forms, or hypoplasia, the enamel of the tooth may be very soft and vulnerable to decay. Some teeth can even chip and crumble as a result of this weakness. Abnormalities in the shape of tooth occur often. With hypoplasia, treatment is important to remove the very soft enamel and replace it with a white or composite filling to stop or prevent decay. If a back molar is severely affected, a temporary stainless steel crown may be recommended during the growing years. As with cosmetic restorations of the front teeth, permanent restorations such as porcelain crowns on back teeth are considered after all the permanent teeth have erupted and growth is complete, usually in the late teens.

Parents, give us a call today at (815) 806-1600 for more information!

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