White spot lesions are the earliest warning signs for potential decay – these seemingly inconspicuous spots along the front and corners of the teeth can often appear normal due to the expectations of glistening white smiles, but in fact, are quite harmful to the integrity of the tooth. White spot lesions are areas of thinned enamel and occur due to exposure to abrasive, acidic substances overtime. These lesions have numerous causes, and to recover that lost enamel, dentists often employ many techniques and treatments to reverse its effects. However, once lost, enamel cannot be recovered naturally. White spot lesions are the earliest warning sign for an intervention.
The Causes of White Spot Lesions
Enamel, the strong outer layer of the tooth, is composed of minerals such as calcium and phosphate to protect the inner workings of the tooth, such as the dentin and pulp. By shielding against bacteria and food particles, the enamel plays an essential role in oral health. However, this hard substance is the most vulnerable to bacteria as well. Factors such as age, family history, and environment often influence how enamel reacts to bacteria. For some people, white spot lesions develop as a result.
White spot lesions are considered to be the earliest warning signs of tooth decay because it creates weakened areas of enamel, causing micro-abrasions throughout the enamel surface. This discolored area often weakened the integrity of the enamel as a whole and gives bacteria leeway for growth. Over time, these white spots develop further through these causes:
• Demineralization: Demineralization is the most common cause of white spot lesions. Poor oral hygiene and wearing braces can make the teeth more prone to enamel loss, causing white spot lesions to occur.
• Enamel Hypoplasia: Enamel Hypoplasia occurs when the enamel thins over time from vitamin deficiencies, medications, and other hereditary conditions and requires extensive long-term maintenance to treat.
• Fluorosis: Fluorosis is defined by an over-excessive consumption and absorption of fluoride from toothpaste and drinking water, causing the teeth to discolor and create that chalky, white appearance.
As all of these conditions causing white spot lesions, these conditions often present the first signs of cavity development. As the enamel weakens, the teeth become more prone to bacteria, leading the enamel to erode, the dentin and pulp to become exposed, and plaque accumulation to develop more quickly. Cavities, gum disease, and potential tooth loss progress further as a result.
Treatments For White Spot Lesions
There are many treatments available for removing white spot lesions. Fluoride treatments, porcelain veneers, whitening gels, and other restorative treatments can be applied to restore the appearance of your teeth. Researchers from the World Journal of Clinical Cases have developed a micro-abrasion treatment to remove small sections of the affected enamel through acidic and abrasive agents to remove the bacteria formation and allow for better treatment. Overall, the best treatment for white spot lesions comes from visiting your dentist. If you’ve begun noticing white spot lesions developing along with your teeth, it’s essential to schedule an appointment to halt its progression and keep your smile clean and healthy.