What Causes White Spots on My Teeth?

woman with painful tooth

White spots on the surfaces of your teeth can be an indication that there is an underlying dental problem. They are often an early sign of decay. However, in other cases, white spots can be relatively harmless and require little more than observation or treatment to make the tooth color more consistent. White spots on the teeth should be evaluated by a dentist to determine their cause.

Causes of White Spots

White spots can occur during the development of the tooth, so that permanent teeth emerge already discolored. This is not necessarily a cause for alarm, but you should consult with your dentist to see if treatment is recommended.

Some common causes of white spots on the teeth are:

  • Hypoplasia – teeth have less enamel than normal
  • Hypocalcification – enamel is softer than normal
  • Excessive fluoride exposure during tooth development
  • Early evidence of tooth decay
  • Plaque buildup under dental braces

Hypoplasia and hypocalcification are inherited conditions, and may require treatment, particularly in the case of hypocalcification. Teeth with overly soft enamel are highly susceptible to damage and decay. Spots caused by fluoride might not require treatment, but any white spots due to decay or to a malformation of the enamel should be evaluated by a dentist.

Treatment for White Spots

Treatment for white spots depends upon the cause of the spots. Hypoplasia nearly always requires treatment, since the enamel is soft and easily damaged. Dental treatment with tooth-colored fillings or crowns might be necessary to preserve the tooth. White spots from tooth decay should be treated per your dentist’s recommendation and probably will also require a filling.

If the white spots prove to be only cosmetic, your dentist might recommend a treatment like tooth whitening. Whitening will not eliminate the white spots, but it can lighten the rest of your teeth to reduce the contrast so the white spots are less noticeable. Porcelain veneers are also an effective cosmetic treatment if whitening does not provide satisfactory results.

For more information, contact the office of Dr. Gregory Allen Kerbel at (972) 278-9901 today.