The last thing an orthodontic patient (or their parent) wants to see when their braces come off is white circles or spots on the teeth where their braces once were. These white areas are known as demineralization, and are actually areas where the tooth enamel begins to form a cavity, but didn’t make it far enough. Demineralized tooth enamel is weaker, more susceptible to sensitivity and decay, and can be cause for esthetic concern because it is so noticeable.
The most important factor to prevent white spots is to thoroughly remove all plaque from the teeth, at least twice each day. You should be brushing for at least two minutes twice a day, but orthodontic patients may need to be brushing even longer, but especially should be using oral hygiene aids that help them access the areas between the brackets. Brushing around the entire bracket with a toothbrush or interproximal brush is extremely important, because any residual plaque will simply cause acid to etch the tooth enamel.
Secondly, use a topical fluoride treatment every day. It may be an over the counter rinse, or a prescription strength gel given by your dentist; but it should be used every evening after normal oral hygiene practices. Don’t eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes after the application, and be sure not to rinse it off directly after either. That’s why using it just before bed is an ideal time.
Should white spots still happen to occur, your dentist can work with you to help reduce the appearance of the spots through topical or whitening treatments.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck, DMD, MS, PC
Do those white spots on your teeth bother you? Did you know that they’re actually scars inside of your tooth enamel? That’s right, weakened areas that once tried to develop a cavity, but thankfully reversed them either by eliminating a risk factor (like braces), or through proper oral care. Did you know that there are ways to help eliminate the appearance of these areas, evening out the coloration and appearance of your teeth?
The traditional method for white spot removal involves teeth whitening. Uneven coloration is also an indication of enamel density, so some areas will whiten quicker than others in the beginning. Thankfully, completing the full course of professional whitening treatment can produce even results that minimize the appearance of these decalcified areas.
A newer method involves the application of calcium phosphate to the area, over a period of several short visits with your dentist. One of the popular treatments is called MI Paste, which helps strengthen weakened tooth enamel from the inside, out. After just 3-6 applications by your dentist, most white spots are completely unnoticeable.
After eliminating your white spots, it’s important to prevent them from recurring. A topical gel made of prescription level fluoride or sodium phosphate may be recommended by your dentist to help strengthen the outside of the tooth, protecting inner areas that were once decalcified.
The best way to prevent white spots from forming is to practice very good oral hygiene, especially if you wear braces. So often, braces are not thoroughly cleaned around, and a small amount of plaque is left around the bracket, slowly etching the surface of your enamel. If you’re an orthodontic patient, be sure to have routine cleanings and use fluoride as prescribed by your dentist or orthodontist.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Joyce Ma, Prime Dental Care
White spotted areas are usually just a cosmetic concern of dental patients, but to your dentist they are a signal of weakening tooth enamel. There are some circumstances that place someone at risk to develop white spots, and there are also things you can do to help them go away. Little do many people know, cavities actually start out as white spots!
Perhaps the most common sign of white spot lesions are those that are seen after an orthodontic patient has had their braces removed. There may be white spots or circles on the teeth where the bracket was once bonded. These lesions are due to long-term exposure to plaque that was not removed adequately. As a result, the plaque began to cause erosion of enamel as it always does when decay is beginning to form. Similar signs may be seen in permanent teeth as they erupt farther into an older child’s mouth, if oral hygiene is lacking.
High levels of acid exposure from drinks or candy may also trigger erosion of enamel. As minerals seep out and the tooth weakens, a white porous area is left. If left unaddressed, this area will continue to weaken into a cavity. It may or may not turn brown. Some people even appear to have spots if they breath through their mouths or are experiencing a brief illness.
Fortunately, supplemental fluoride use can help remineralize these weakened areas and help restore them to their normal appearance. An over the counter rinse may be effective, or if decalcification is extensive your dentist may write you a prescription for a stronger gel solution. If you have white spots or discolorations on your teeth, it’s a good idea for you to have your dentist check them and help you intervene before it’s too late.
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