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White Spots On Your Teeth? You Have Dental Fluorosis

Noticing white streaks on your teeth can be disturbing because of the way they make your teeth look. These white streaks are a result of a condition called dental fluorosis. Fortunately, this condition is not something that is hazardous for your teeth. If the appearance of your teeth bothers you, visit a dentist to find out how you can get rid of it.

What Causes Dental Fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is a condition that directly correlates to an over-consumption of fluoride. Here are several facts about dental fluorosis:

It only develops on teeth when they are inside the gums. If a person consumes too much fluoride before his or her permanent teeth are through the gums, dental fluorosis can occur. It cannot occur after the permanent teeth have come through.

It happens primarily to children under the age of 8. Adults already have their permanent teeth, whereas young children do not. If you have not developed this condition by the age of 8, you will probably never get it.

It occurs primarily from the misuse of products that contain fluoride. Dental fluorosis is usually caused by using too much toothpaste or mouthwash being ingested, or drinking fluoridated water. In some cases, it is caused by taking too many fluoride supplements or drinking too much water that contains fluoride.

It is not dangerous. Although teeth may look bad with this condition, dental fluorosis only affects the outer part of the teeth. It is not life-threatening, and it is usually left untreated.

dental fluorosis on teeth

What Does it Look Like?

Most reported cases of dental fluorosis are minor. A person with a minor case may notice faint white streaks or spots on his or her teeth. When the condition is severe, it may leave large white spots, pits, or even yellow or brown stains.

Visiting a dentist for an examination is the only way to know if you actually have this or not. Approximately 1 in 4 people in the U.S. have dental fluorosis, but 99% of the cases are minor and do not require treatment.

How is it Treated?

When a person wants the condition fixed, these are the options:

Tooth whitening services – whitening gels often have the ability to remove or reduce the stains caused by dental fluorosis. They may have to be used more than once, however.

Enamel microabrasion – This is a fairly non-invasive method of treating the tooths aesthetics.  during this method of treatment, the dentist first subjects the tooth to some acid and then sands away a small layer of enamel off the outside of the tooth using a pumice.

Dental crowns, veneers, or bonding – with severe discoloration, covering the tooth is often the best remedy. Dentists do this with a dental crown or veneer or by adding a bonding material to the front of the tooth.

Preventing, Identifying, And Fixing A Dental Abscess

Cavities are bad enough. A dental abscess is like a larger, infected cavity. Dental abscesses typically develop from unattended cavities. The cavity acts as a haven for different bacteria. These bacteria multiply and eat at the tooth, causing decay. However, an abscess can also occur during an injury. The exposed area becomes vulnerable to the bacteria. Gingivitis and age can also allow bacteria to develop and rot the tooth.

dental abscessPreventing a Dental Abscess

The first step in preventing a dental abscess is proper dental hygiene. This means brushing your teeth two times a day and flossing after every meal. Proper dental hygiene also requires biannual dental checkups and upgrading to a new toothbrush every 4 months.

Signs of a Dental Abscess

  • severe pain
  • sensitivity to temperature
  • swelling of the gums, jaw, or neck
  • active sores in the mouth

Curing an Abscess

The first thing your dentist will do to cure your abscess is help you fight the infection. To do this, he will likely prescribe antibiotics and possibly drain the infected area. The medicine can be administered through injection or a laser. While providing a cleaner area for the dentist to work on, it may not eliminate the bacterial problem entirely. To drain the rest of the infection, the dentist may decide to perform a root canal or an extraction.

Unfortunately, when unattended, a dental abscess may result in severe root damage. This occurs when the infection has made its way into the living portion of your tooth, known as the pulp. You will then likely be scheduling a root canal. During the root canal, the doctor will remove the infected portions of the pulp. He will then use a cap to secure the tooth.

If the infection has made the tooth unsalvageable, the doctor may decide to remove or extract your tooth. After the infection is removed and the gums are restored, an implant will be put in its place. Restoring the damaged gums typically requires grafting surgery if the root canal is insufficient.

To keep your smile looking its best, you should take preventative care seriously. However, when your dental hygiene schedule has failed or trauma occurs, your dentist can take the right steps to keep you smiling.

Be sure to get your teeth checked out at your local dentist regularly to ensure you don’t have any potential abscesses in the making. This will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run.