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What causes white spots on teeth?

family dentistry DallasHave you noticed white spots on your teeth or the teeth of your children? Do you wonder how they form? White spots can form for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is due to antibiotic use or exposure to too much fluoride. Moreover, a white spot also forms during the early stages of tooth decay. If you see a white spot, it is best to bring it up with our team at our family dentistry practice as soon as possible so that we determine its cause. While many white discolorations can be harmless, it is best to rule out tooth decay as a cause so that patients can get conservative treatment early on.

How Antibiotics and Fluoride Can Discolor Teeth

While fluoride is a great, natural way to strengthen teeth, too much fluoride exposure while a child’s teeth are developing can lead to white discoloration on teeth. White spots or striations caused by excessive fluoride exposure do not present oral health problems and are purely a cosmetic issue. Certain antibiotics used during pregnancy can affect the color of a child’s teeth—leading to white and light yellow stains. These stains are cosmetic in nature as well.

Treating Tooth Decay

When a cavity begins to form, it can appear like a white spot on the tooth’s crown. This spot will appear white because the cavity has formed beneath the enamel surface of teeth, which has been eroded by acid and bacteria that eat through the surfaces of teeth. Beneath tooth enamel is the dentin structure of teeth. Dentin is softer and will appear whiter because it is not exposed to staining agents like dark food and drinks until a tooth is permanently damaged. If the cavity progresses, it will eventually darken (and deepen).
Cavities affect patients of all ages. Our dentist treats tooth decay with restorations like fillings. A filling is a small restoration that is placed over the cavity to protect the tooth from further external damage. Receiving a filling is minimally invasive and only requires a local anesthetic. Larger areas of decay may require more extensive restorations like crowns or inlays.

Call our family dentistry practice today to schedule a checkup or cleaning.