I have been trying some cheap and free teeth whitening techniques to try to even out my smile some. For the past six months or so, I’ve noticed my teeth have developed some white spots on them. I wanted to get rid of the spots or make them blend in more. I tried special toothpastes and strips, but none of those were working, so I finally went and saw a dentist who was offering free teeth whitening treatments to all new patients. We went through the whole thing and I followed their instructions exactly. Well, my teeth seem a little brighter, but the spots look brighter too. I called the office and the woman told me that spots like I have won’t respond to bleaching and that I should have known that before I started. How could I have possibly known if they didn’t tell me? I have to wonder if it’s possible that they were just using a fake gimmick to get people in the dental office. If, however, they are being truthful and the spots can’t be fixed this way, where exactly does that leave me in terms of fixing the problem? Thanks. Kris
Sorry to hear you’re having so much trouble with spots on your teeth. It sounds like decalcification might be the problem. The dental office should have let you know the results you could expect before your free teeth whitening treatment started, but all is not lost. Let’s discuss what’s happening.
A Balanced Mouth Is a Healthy Mouth
Ideally, natural teeth are in a pH-balanced environment, bathing in mineral-laden saliva. In everyday life, intake acid food and drink that disturb the pH balance. Health conditions like acid reflux or bulimia introduce even more acid, and certain medications reduce the amount of saliva in our mouths. We get plaque buildup and feed bacteria in our mouths with sugary foods, which also upsets the pH balance.
Decalcification Occurs When Minerals Leave Your Teeth
The enamel on your teeth is incredibly tough when it’s healthy, but when your mouth isn’t balanced, the minerals start to leak. They’re in a constant state of flux; losing minerals and then gaining minerals from your saliva and diet. If you’re really good about brushing and flossing and don’t have health concerns, yet eat a lot of sugar or consume a lot of acidic things, your teeth will naturally remineralize on their own. But when your teeth have significant mineral loss, white spots, also known as decalcification, will develop.
Decalcification Is Often Called Pre-Cavity
The white spots on a tooth are not as strong as the rest of the tooth structure. Many dentists refer to them as pre-cavities, though precarious lesion is the more clinical term for it. Some people do believe you can heal those spots by correcting the imbalance and making sure you’re getting the minerals you need. There are specialty products on the market that claim to remineralize teeth. Unfortunately, there’s little evidence to support this. Those spots typically become cavities. If you’re really diligent and follow a good care regimen (your dentist may have specific suggestions to help you), then you may be able to delay decay for an extended period of time- perhaps even years.
Your Dentist Will Need to Repair the Spots
Often, dentists will want to repair the spots before they become cavities.
- Depending on the severity of yours, there may be minimally-invasive options, such as abrasion. Teeth are usually repaired just like cavities.
- Sometimes, people receive dental veneers to cover up white spots and protect the teeth.
You’ll need an evaluation from your dentist to find out which options are best. As for the free teeth whitening you received, it was probably legit, but it won’t get rid of the white spots or even tooth color. However, dentists usually recommend that you have whitening done before any restorative work, because bleaching gel won’t brighten filling materials or veneers. If you did want a brighter smile overall, the whitening helped, but you need alternate treatment to correct the white spots.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy’s Plano free teeth whitening for life program includes free whitening gel for patients of the practice who keep their regular cleaning and exam appointments.