You snapped a couple of pictures of yourself and your kid, and now you are choosing which photos to post on your Instagram or Facebook account. As you browse through the album on your phone, you suddenly notice white spots on your child’s teeth.
You then wonder: Should I worry about the white spots on my child’s teeth?
These white spots may be caused by any of the following three things.
First, your child may have enamel hypoplasia. When your child’s teeth erupt, these may have white, yellow or brown spots which are formed during their development. In some cases, the teeth may be deformed or even thin in some areas.
Enamel hypoplasia is fairly common and are commonly found in the molars and cuspids. They may also appear on the front teeth, which can lead to cosmetic issues.
If you child indeed has enamel hypoplasia, there is nothing to worry about; your child will not need to undergo any treatment unless the affected teeth are in the front, which can result in cosmetic issues. Enamel hypoplasia does not cause or lead to tooth decay. All you need to do is to observe the affected teeth. If the hypoplasia is located on the front your dentist may recommend bleaching and a technique known as microabrasion. This treatment can improve the appearance of the affected teeth.
If you do notice that the affected teeth are beginning to show signs of cavity formation or seem to be crumbling, this means that the enamel is weak. Your pediatric dentist may also recommend the use of a crown in an affected molar which has begun to break down. Otherwise, a small white filling will suffice for a small cavity.
Apart from hypoplasia, there are two other causes of white spots on a child’s teeth. If you are sure that these spots were not there when your child’s tooth erupted, one possible cause of these spots is tooth decay. Left unchecked, plaque can cause demineralization, which looks like white spots usually found near the gum line. Here, you will need to schedule a visit to the dentist who will apply topical fluoride on superficial lesions. On the other hand, if the spots have progressed to form a cavity, your child will need a dental filling to contain the problem.
In some cases, white spots may be caused by too much exposure to fluoride when a child is still developing his teeth. This condition is known as fluorosis. Fluorosis can arise when a child is given fluoride drops or when there is too much fluoride in the drinking water.