Anything that detracts from the overall appearance of a person's teeth can cause self-consciousness. Enamel hypoplasia is a condition that causes tooth enamel to develop inadequately and appear slightly pitted and off-coloured. Dental fluorosis, caused by an overabundance of fluoride, also causes white stains on teeth. The location and severity of the staining play a factor in determining the best method of removing the stains.
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Things you need
Maintain proper dental, since this is essential to keeping your teeth in good condition. Ideally, this means brushing twice a day and flossing after every meal. While genetics does play a role in the development of enamel hypoplasia, it's also sometimes caused by infection, and a good tooth-care regimen helps reduce this risk.
Consult your dentist as soon as you begin to notice white stains on your teeth. Treatment only becomes more invasive and expensive the longer you wait. While stains causes by dental fluorosis are only cosmetic, hypoplasia causes sensitivity in the affected teeth and can also lead to tooth decay and malformation.
Arrange a microabrasion session with a cosmetic dentist for minor discolourations caused by fluorosis. Not all dentists specialise in cosmetic procedures, so while yours may be able to diagnose the problem, he may need to recommend you to another dentist to remedy it. The microabrasion process involves finely sanding off the outer layer of enamel so that the stains are removed.
Consider in-office teeth bleaching for stains that have become more severe. This process uses products that contain between 15 and 35 per cent hydrogen peroxide that's applied directly to your teeth. Prior to applying the peroxide, your dentist will place a gel or rubber dam over your gums to protect them during treatment. A special heat or laser light is directed toward your teeth to help speed up the whitening process. This treatment shows immediate results.
Be advised of the proper techniques for overnight bleaching if your dentist prescribes the treatment. Unlike over-the-counter whitening strips, these trays are moulded from the patient's teeth and designed specifically for that patient's use. Unlike in-office bleaching, which uses hydrogen peroxide, the overnight process uses carbamide peroxide to reduce the stains. Treatments last a minimum of 2 weeks and show results for up to 1 year.
Decide whether you can afford more expensive treatments, such as composite bonding and porcelain veneers. Bonding involves attaching a composite resin that matches your teeth's natural shade to the damaged section of enamel. Veneers are a thin ceramic shell that is used to cover all or part of a stained or damaged tooth.
Tips and warnings
- Supervise your children when they're brushing their teeth. Swallowing toothpaste can lead to an overabundance of fluoride in the system and cause dental fluorosis.
- Porcelain veneers may need to be replaced every few years; this can add cost to an already expensive treatment.
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