Have you ever looked in the mirror and spotted bright white patches in the middle of your front teeth? If those patches bother you, you’re not alone. Those white patches could be a result of something called fluorosis, and they’re incredibly common. Common or not, many people don’t like the way fluorosis looks.
If you want those white patches gone, an experienced Coachella Valley cosmetic dentist can help.
How Does Fluorosis Happen?
The white patches on your teeth are a result of the hypomineralization of tooth enamel. You’ve probably had them for as long as you can remember because fluorosis is caused by the excessive ingestion of fluoride during the time when your enamel is being formed. This means that most people with fluorosis have had the resultant discoloration since they were a child.
While fluoride in appropriate doses helps build strong enamel that can more effectively protect teeth from cavities, excessive fluoride can have detrimental effects on the aesthetic appearance of teeth, and in severe cases, can also damage teeth. This excess of fluoride can come from many sources, such as children ingesting fluoridated mouthwash or toothpaste, use of fluoride supplements, and drinking water that contains too much fluoride. (While some public water supplies are fluoridated intentionally, excess fluoridation is more likely to occur because of naturally high fluoride levels in the water.)
Most fluorosis is mild and doesn’t pose a health risk to your teeth. Severe fluorosis can make teeth more susceptible to decay, but mild fluorosis can actually make teeth more resistant to cavities. However, many have cosmetic concerns about the white patches, which can stand out particularly on teeth that are at all yellowed or stained.
Coachella Valley Fluoride Levels
If you drink water from the tap here in Coachella Valley, you’re drinking fluoridated water. Despite what many believe, fluoride is a mineral that naturally forms when the element fluoride comes into contact with minerals in rocks or soil. It naturally occurs in both groundwater and surface water sources.
In Coachella Valley, fluoride is naturally found in the water — it’s not added. Currently the natural levels of fluoride range from 0.2 to 1.5 ppm. For scale, 1 ppm is equivalent to one drop of water in a ten-gallon bucket. These levels are completely safe to drink and won’t cause fluorosis. In the past, fluoride levels were much higher so it’s possible that adults with fluorosis today were exposed to these high levels as children.
Fluorosis Treatment – How To Get Rid of Fluorosis
If you’re ready to get rid of fluorosis and the pesky white patches it leaves on your teeth, we offer a few different cosmetic dentistry options that can help.
Teeth whitening seems like it should be the obvious answer to fluorosis, and in some cases this can effectively brighten the rest of the teeth to match the white patches, making them less visible. However, sometimes whitening treatments can lighten the fluorosis patches as well, ensuring that they continue to stand out. On the other hand, the fluorosis patches will often dim faster than the rest of the tooth, which means that most of the time the patches will blend in.
If your fluorosis is mild, the discolored patches may be able to be buffed out of the teeth. However, this may open up the affected teeth to erosion and decay.
A better and more reliable solution is porcelain veneers. If your fluorosis is mild, a porcelain veneer can correct the cosmetic issue by simply masking your tooth with an attractive veneer of advanced ceramic. Porcelain veneers are durable and long-lasting, and you can have them in just two appointments.
If your fluorosis is more severe, a porcelain crown may be a better alternative. Crowns don’t just change the appearance of your teeth, they also protect and strengthen them. A CEREC® one-day crown can be completed in just one dental visit and acts as a shield to protect the weakened tooth from bacteria.
The last option we offer and most highly recommend to cover up signs of fluorosis is BioClear. BioClear is an alternative to dental bonding and porcelain veneers. Unlike porcelain veneers, BioClear doesn’t require any prep work beforehand. Dr. Strober can complete the procedure without removing a thin layer of enamel. BioClear is a flowable composite that can cover the entire tooth to give it a new appearance, shape, and size. BioClear can successfully cover all signs of fluorosis and stains. It can also cover cracks, chips, and change the shape and size of your teeth.
Get Rid of Teeth With White Patches with Cosmetic Dentistry in Coachella Valley
If you think you may have dental fluorosis, you can still have a beautiful smile. With cosmetic dentistry treatments, we can help you achieve a smile that you love. Call (760) 832-7915 or contact us online to make an appointment with Rancho Mirage cosmetic dentist Dr. Strober.