White Spots on Teeth

Q: My child’s permanent front teeth have come in with bright white spots on them.  What is this and is there anything that can be done to correct it?

 A: This is a very common problem.  It is called enamel hypoplasia or hypocalcification.  It’s the result of a disruption in the formation of enamel that can be seen in both baby teeth and permanent teeth.  The most common causes of these spots are high fever during infancy, specific antibiotics, or even trauma that occurs to the overlying baby tooth while the permanent tooth enamel is developing within the bone.  In most cases, the spots are only minor cosmetic blemishes that require no treatment.  Sometimes, however, the spots can be quite unsightly and can even result in weaker enamel that can chip and decay more easily.  In these cases a simple procedure called micro-abrasion can be done to remove the top-most layer of enamel.  Sometimes this alone will eliminate the spots, but if the defect penetrates too deeply into the tooth, cosmetic dental procedures such was whitening, bonding, and even porcelain veneers may be needed to mask the defect.  If you think you or your children are affected by enamel hypoplasia, ask your dentist for an evaluation today.