How to treat dental fluorosis
It’s a horrific scenario, one far too many parents face when they peer into their child’s mouth and suddenly realise their teeth have yellowed and are far from pearly white.
How can this be? Your child brushes religiously three times a day. Well, that might be the problem.
Don’t overdose in fluoride
Fluoride is a wonderful thing; it protects our child’s growing teeth from decay and acts like a tooth-based Super Hero ka-powing and ka-booming villainous sugars, bacteria and acids and sending them cartwheeling back where they belong in Sugar, Bacteria and Acid Land.
But how much toothpaste is too much? If your kids are vociferous brushers, they may also be equally vociferous appliers of fluoride-based toothpastes on toothbrushes if left unsupervised.
And while in the early stages of mastering the tooth brushing technique, most of this excessive toothpaste will end up smeared over their face, it will eventually find its way into their mouths.
What is dental fluorosis?
While fluoride is good, in fact, essential, too much of it can be a bad thing. If you or (more likely) your child ends up with strangely streaked or spotted teeth despite a good diet and superlative brushing regime, chances are it can cause a rather unattractive case of dental fluorosis.
You may see anything from scattered paper white areas on the surface of your teeth to pitted, discoloured teeth that almost seem to be corroding.
How to treat dental fluorosis?
Your dentist will have four main options depending on the extent of the damage.
- A teeth whitening treatment can return teeth to their former glory in a single visit.
- Failing that, they might consider bonding the teeth with a coat of hard resin that adheres to the enamel.
- A veneer is a next option, a custom-made porcelain shell that’s fitted over your teeth to restore their gleaming appearance.
- They might also use MI paste, a treatment high in calcium phosphate to reduce or eliminate tooth discolouration.
In the end, prevention is the best cure. Be mindful of your own fluoride intake – a thin strip of toothpaste is all you need to squeeze onto your toothbrush each time. And watch over the kids to make sure they do the same. If you catch them in a lather of paste, try to explain why a little is far better than a lot.
Is fluoride treatment necessary for adults? Find out in our previous blog.
Is dental fluorosis reversible?
It does sound nasty, but don’t worry, dental fluorosis hardly ever reaches the extreme stages and even if it does, a few trips to the dentist will fix the problem quick smart.
In mild cases of fluorosis, you won’t need any dental treatment, just a few adjustments in your dental regime or that of your child.