What is Fluorosis?
We've surely mentioned fluorosis before - but we had never given it its own blog post before!
If you break down the word "Fluor-" to indicate "fluoride" and the medical suffix, "-osis" to mean, "an increase in pathological condition" (According to TheFreeDictionary.com) - the condition, Fluorosis means that teeth were exposed to excess fluoride during childhood (while the teeth were still developing) and are left with a permanent mottled look.
Fluorosis can show on teeth as white patches, white spots or even white striations. As mentioned earlier - if the damage was unfortunately done, the fluorosis patches will stay forever. The good news is, it is a condition that's only aesthetic in nature - so it's painless and doesn't impact the health of your teeth. It also doesn't affect the way you bite nor the enjoyment of your food. If you're ok with the patchiness, it shouldn't really be bothersome.
And yet - and yet - we know how appearances can matter, so here are some possible options.
This is probably the least effective method on our list today - because whitening treatments technically can't take away the blotchiness altogether. It can, however, 'work' to make the colour differences less obvious between the patches and the rest of your tooth. Not the ideal solution for sure, but if your fluorosis isn't too severe, whitening can lessen the appearance of the patchiness (* See Note Below).
The benefit of trying whitening over the other treatments is - it is the least invasive procedure out of the following options. It may also be recommended to you if you otherwise have a healthy tooth - you probably don't want a healthy tooth drilled into/worked on if it's *just* an aesthetic issue - which may be the case if you choose another option.
Choose professional, in-office whitening for greater effectiveness than over-the-counter products.
* Please note that immediately after a whitening session, your fluorosis splotches may appear more prominent than 'normal'. Don't worry, the colour will stabilize - just that the moment right after you remove the whitening agent, your teeth may be slightly dehydrated - which makes it look 'whiter' than normal. Once you give it a bit of time, the teeth colour will even out.
If your front teeth are mottled and patchy and you also have severe/deep decay in these teeth (or have had a root canal procedure done on these teeth), it might be a good idea to get them crowned. In the case of existing decay - your options usually include either getting a filling or a crown (depending on how much decay there is). In root canal cases, the root has been removed, so having that crown there can protect the remaining structure.
Crowns can also be used to correct malformed teeth and other conditions, so - the way we see it, while crowns have a 'side effect' of looking pretty - as practitioners, we think firstly of functionality!
It isn't without downsides, however - because if you just have one tooth that shows the patchy signs of fluorosis, it can sometimes be difficult to match the colour of the crown to the colour of the neighbouring teeth as a dentist (After all, the shade of your teeth can depends on how light is refracted from the surface - compare how they look in natural light vs fluorescent or compare two people who have the same shade of teeth - but they've got differently aligned teeth - if one has teeth that slant inwards towards the tongue, the teeth may appear darker than someone's whose teeth do not slant!)
While it's much more realistic nowadays (thank technology!) and takes great artistic skill to create a good colour match, there's still always the possibility that the crown colour won't match (Our staff is well-trained with good eyes, though!)
Also as a final disclaimer, if you get whitening treatments after a crown, the whitening agents may not have the same effectiveness on the restorative material when compared to real teeth.
Especially if you have a couple of teeth that are mottled, veneers may be an option.
A veneer is basically a thin piece of material that's attached on top of your existing teeth - you can think of it like a mask of sorts. But instead of dramatic masquerade masks, you're thinking of one that is in the shape of a tooth, the colour of a tooth and sized perfectly to fit on top of your existing teeth so that it looks like an un-mottled tooth. No one will ever know unless you tell them!
Veneers may be one of the pricier options, but it can dramatically alter the appearance of your smile.
While fluorosis cases used to be permanent with no choices for treatment, nowadays, you can choose from a couple of options, depending on your unique set of teeth. Call in for a Complete Oral Exam - and speak to one of our ALFIE Dentists face-to-face to see how we can help - (416) 226-6688.