Fluorosis is a condition that leads to the formation of white or brown stains on your teeth. Overexposure to fluoride in the initial years of life when your permanent teeth are developing- is one of the primary reasons behind it. Fluorosis is a cosmetic concern – definitely not a medical concern and will not have adverse effects on your health. But there are treatments, however, that can take care of the issue.
What Is Fluorosis?
Fluorosis is a cosmetic dental concern that’s understood by the formation of white or brown spots or stains on the surface of your teeth. These stains or spots usually vary from tiny white flecks that are nearly visible to dark brown blotches that are clearly visible.
Whom Does Fluorosis Affect?
Dental Fluorosis affects people who were primarily overexposed to fluoride during their developmental years before their adult or permanent teeth show up completely. Children below the age of 8 years are more susceptible to developing fluorosis. Teeth that have already sprouted can’t be affected by fluorosis.
How Common Is Fluorosis?
Mild fluorosis is absolutely common, affecting almost 1 out of every 4 Americans between the ages of 6 to 49. Moderate to severe Fluorosis is comparatively less widespread in the U.S.
Does Fluorosis Weaken Teeth?
No, dental fluorosis has nothing to do with oral health or function. People with fluorosis are actually more immune to cavities. This surprising fact is what led health officials to introduce fluoride into public water supplies at medically safe levels. This simply means that the water supply systems have sufficient fluoride to help prevent tooth decay, but not enough to lead to fluorosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the usage of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water is the recommended level.)
What Are the Symptoms of Fluorosis?
Dental discoloration is the only tell-tale symptom of fluorosis. The extent of discoloration is dependent on the severity of the condition. Dentists usually use the following terminologies to categorize fluorosis:
- Questionable: A few very light white flecks and white spots.
- Very mild: Light white areas covering less than 25% of your tooth surfaces.
- Mild: Light white areas covering less than 50% of your tooth surfaces.
- Moderate: White or light brown areas covering more than 50% of your tooth surfaces.
- Severe: White, light brown, or dark brown spots affecting all surfaces. Your teeth may also have pitting (small depressions in your tooth enamel).
In some of the milder cases, the dental discoloration can be so light that it can even evade the scrutiny of the dentist. But if fluorosis seems to have a negative impact on your self-esteem, cosmetic dental treatments can be a way to go.
What Are the Reasons for Fluorosis?
Dental fluorosis takes shape when a child is consistently ingesting or is experiencing way too much exposure to fluoride in some way or the other, while their permanent teeth is still developing underneath their gums. This can often stem from drinking heavily fluoridated water or swallowing fluoridated toothpaste while brushing their teeth.
Dental fluorosis in adults is not a usual phenomenon. It only affects people who are still developing their permanent or adult teeth.
How Is Fluorosis Diagnosed?
Your dentist can diagnose fluorosis during a routine dental examination.
Does Fluorosis Go Away?
Fluorosis is usually there to stay and doesn’t go away with brushing or flossing. The only available way to take care of it is with the help of cosmetic dental treatments like dental bonding, veneers, and crowns. These treatments are discussed in the following sections.
How Do You Get Rid of Fluorosis?
There are available cosmetic dental procedures that can take care of fluorosis. The treatment that’s suitable for you is dependent on multiple factors, including the severity of fluorosis, your budget, and your own personal choices. Common fluorosis treatments include:
A bleaching gel is applied to your teeth for a stipulated amount of time. The gel is used to lighten the enamel of your tooth, so the stain blends with the original color of your teeth. While teeth blending is the way to go for milder cases of fluorosis, other treatments might be good for you.
A tooth-colored composite resin is used to cover up fluorosis to hide the stains, for this procedure. Your teeth are then shaped and polished to make them resemble the natural ones.
Composed of resin or porcelain, veneers are thin shell-like structures that adhere to the frontal surfaces of the teeth. Veneers are usually personalized, so your dentist is going to need your dental impression to get the size and fit right.
Like veneers, crowns too are personalized. Having said that, dental restoration of this category fits over your entire tooth. Your dental health expert will require to remove some of the natural enamel so the crown sits appropriately.
This is a process too; your dental health expert will need to take a small section of the enamel of your teeth. This helps in the elimination of some of the fluorosis stains. The dentist sometimes will then follow microabrasion with teeth whitening to get a uniform color on your teeth.
How Can I Reduce My Child’s Risk for Fluorosis?
To bring down your little one’s risk for fluorosis, be careful about the amount of fluoride they are exposed to.Find out about water fluoridation laws in your area, or test your well water for fluoride levels. You might not want your child to be overexposed to fluoride , however, they also need an appropriate amount of fluoride as they grow and develop. Thus, the proper amount of fluoride is significant for the growth and development of your child’s oral health conditions and dental hygiene.
In addition, you should:
Make sure your child spits toothpaste out instead of swallowing it.
Limit your child’s consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages.
Practice good dental hygiene habits with your child.
Visit your dentist at least every six months for routine dental check-ups.
What’s The Outlook for People with Fluorosis?
Fluorosis has no adverse effects on your dental or overall health whatsoever. From a medical point of view, you don’t require any medical attention for this if you don’t want to. However, if your condition is embarrassing you or is hampering your self-esteem, cosmetic dentistry can help you get back your precious and confident smile dramatically.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider?
As we have already discussed, you don’t need any additional medical attention if you are not self-conscious or embarrassed about it. Your dental health expert will discuss and consult your treatment plan with you before proceeding.