Chances are, you have seen someone or know someone who has chalky, opaque-looking spots on their teeth: Maybe you have them and would like to know what they are and where they came from. Well, there are several things that can cause these spots on the teeth, which are referred to as white spot lesions. White spot lesions can occur due to excess fluoride intake at a very young age, nutritional issues, poor oral hygiene or they can be a familial trait (inherited). Some people develop white spot lesions during orthodontic treatment; however, these lesions can be prevented. In this article, we will address white spot lesions as they relate to orthodontic treatment.
5 Things About White Spot Lesions
1. What are White Spot Lesions?
In reference to orthodontic treatment, if plaque remains along the gum line and around the brackets due to improper flossing and brushing, white spots can develop. Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for everyone; however, proper oral hygiene is critical for individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment.
2. What Actually Causes These Lesions?
As you eat and drink, the level of acidity (pH) in your mouth can fall below 5.5. At this level, cavities can begin developing. If you do not properly brush and floss, the plaque remains around the braces and decalcification begins. This decalcification, which is the first step of the decaying process, causes the white marks to appear.
3. During Orthodontic Treatment, White Spot Lesions Can be Prevented
The good news is that white spots can be prevented. There are numerous techniques, products and specialized brushing devices available to help prevent these bothersome discolorations on the teeth.
What You Can Do
- Brush and Floss Regularly – Firstly, always brush your teeth properly, especially at bedtime. Otherwise, the sticky plaque that developed throughout the day will lie along your gum line and around your braces all night long. Floss on a regular basis to remove plaque buildup and food particles between your teeth. Although white spot lesions are not very noticeable between the teeth, they can still be an issue.
- Avoid Certain Foods and Beverages – Reduce the amount of acidic foods and drinks you consume. Acidic foods and drinks include; citrus fruits, vinegar-based foods, sour candy, sports drinks, orange juice and soda. Eating these foods and drinking these beverages regularly increases your risk of developing white mark lesions.
- Use Specialized Brushing Devices and Products – An electric toothbrush does a great job preventing plaque buildup: An electric toothbrush does a better job than a water flosser does. Depending on your individual brushing habits and needs, Dr. Strickland may order you a prescription fluoride rinse or toothpaste.
4. At-home Treatments for White Spot Lesions
- Prescription Paste – White spots can be prevented and treated with the prescription product MI Paste (CPP-ACP). This product is revolutionizing the way that orthodontists and dentists prevent, and treat white spot lesions. The active ingredient in this paste is Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP). Since the ACP crystallizes to form apatite, which is the mineral content of teeth, this product has been referred to as ‘a tooth in a bottle.’ Casein phosphopeptides (CPP) stabilizes the ACP while it is still within the tube. In addition, CPP increases the amount of phosphorous and calcium in plaque, which may help fill the microscopic holes (remineralize) responsible for these white spots. Both CPP-ACP and fluoride remineralize the tooth’s surface; however, CPP-ACP remineralizes the tooth slowly and may have the ability to penetrate deeper into the tooth than fluoride.
- Chew Trident Xtra Care Gum – Once your braces have been removed, chew Trident Xtra Care: This gum is recommended because it contains CPP-ACP.
5. In-office Procedures to Treat White Spot Lesions
- Fluoride Treatments – Fluoride gels are extremely effective in addressing white spots. Fluoride varnish is another in-office treatment that is used to treat white spot lesions. The best results are attained when the fluoride varnish is applied two to four times a year. This varnish can be applied throughout treatment, even before the braces are removed.
- Microabrasion – This technique is used to restore damaged enamel just below the tooth’s surface. When addressing mild white spot lesions, microabrasion is the best solution.
- Restoration – Restoration involves resurfacing the tooth with another material. Some of the techniques used to resurface the tooth include composite bonding, resin infiltration and porcelain veneers.
For your convenience, Strickland Orthodontics has five locations throughout southern Alabama. If you are looking for an orthodontist who can provide you with the most recent products and innovative techniques available in the world of Orthodontics, contact us today at 251-928-9292. At Strickland Orthodontics, we are dedicated to helping our patients attain the beautiful smile that they deserve.