My child’s adult teeth have white spots on them – why?

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white spots on teeth

My child’s adult teeth have white spots on them – why?

White spots on a child’s adult teeth can be due to several reasons. Most commonly, it is a condition referred to as dental fluorosis that is caused by an excessive intake of fluoride. When the white spots are on the child’s adult teeth, this intake has occurred during the time that those teeth were developing. For adult front teeth this is generally around the first three years of a child’s life. In this case it is important to determine where the child was living at the time and the amount of fluoride present in the water supply, whether any fluoride supplements were consumed, whether the child used a children’s or an adult toothpaste and if the child had a habit of swallowing the toothpaste. These white spots on teeth are porous and can absorb the stains in foods and drinks to become brown over time. These stains can be treated using a technique known as microabrasion. Whitening or bleaching can also improve appearance and in more severe cases composite veneers may be necessary which can be replaced by porcelain veneers once the child is over 16 years of age.

It is important to note that early dental decay can also manifest as white spots close to the gum line on a child’s permanent teeth. In these cases, effective preventive treatment can arrest the development of these areas. However if left untreated, these areas can eventually become cavitated and require a filling.

White spots on adult teeth can also result if the primary tooth was infected or if there is a history of dental trauma. Sometimes illnesses or trauma affecting the first two years of a child’s life can result in a condition where the incisor and the molar teeth do not develop correctly. This can lead to the appearance of white spots on teeth and may also involve breakdown of these teeth.In these cases, the timing of the illness correlates well to the part of the affected tooth that was developing at the time.Children often report sensitivity and pain from these teeth. The management of these cases is complex and can involve placement of fillings in mildly affected teeth to stainless steel crowns or appropriately timed removal of these teeth in more severe cases.

Rarely, white spots on teeth can also be due to an inherited genetic condition. In these cases, both adult and milk teeth are affected. This condition can be identified if any of the child’s siblings are affected or if anyone in the mum or dad’s family is affected.

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