It's not a secret that fluoride is one of your best weapons against dental cavities. But it's possible to have too much of a good thing. When an excessive amount of fluoride was ingested during childhood (when your dental enamel was forming), your teeth might be affected by dental fluorosis. Most instances of dental fluorosis are largely cosmetic, although severe fluorosis can compromise the strength of your teeth. Disguising the effects of dental fluorosis is a common part of cosmetic dentistry, but the most effective way to deal with the situation depends on the extent of your condition.
White Spots and Lines
Mild dental fluorosis looks as though your teeth have a number of small white spots or delicate lines. Sometimes these irregularities are barely noticeable, but they can often be quite obvious. So you might think that teeth whitening will be enough to correct the discoloration of your teeth, but this isn't always the case.
Even More Prominent
Most teeth whitening kits don't offer the necessary precision to correct the effects of dental fluorosis. Although your teeth will be whitened, the discolored spots and lines will also be bleached, so it's not as though the process will do much to reduce their prominence in your smile. In fact, it can make the spots and lines even brighter. It's different when you visit a cosmetic dentist for a professional whitening treatment.
Mild Dental Fluorosis
A dentist can strategically bleach your teeth in order to blend the dental fluorosis imperfections, allowing for a uniformity of the overall color of your teeth while leaving the fluorosis intact. This is generally sufficient for cases of mild dental fluorosis, but there's also the possibility that your dentist will suggest something further if your fluorosis is more advanced, meaning that any whitening is unlikely to have much effect.
Advanced Dental Fluorosis
When your fluorosis means teeth whitening won't deliver the desired results, you might be a candidate for enamel microabrasion, which removes a minuscule amount of surface enamel, removing the fluorosis imperfections in the process. Alternatively, the fluorosis could be covered with a dental composite resin, creating a new, artificial coating for your teeth. Veneers and dental crowns are also an option, with crowns being recommended in cases of severe dental fluorosis that might have compromised the structural strength of your teeth.
Dental fluorosis won't necessarily harm your teeth unless it's especially advanced, but there are a number of ways to disguise or remove the effects of fluorosis. For more information about how cosmetic dentistry can help, contact a local office.