What Is Dental Fluorosis? Is It a Reversible Condition or Not?

What Is Dental Fluorosis? Is It a Reversible Condition or Not?

May 01, 2021

The condition of dental fluorosis is cosmetic, affecting the teeth. Dental fluorosis is caused by overexposure to fluoride during the initial eight years of life. The initial eight years are when the permanent teeth are developing.

After the permanent teeth develop, those affected by dental fluorosis appear mildly discolored. For example, the teeth may have Lacy white markings detectable only by the dentist near you. Teeth affected by severe dental fluorosis may have yellow or dark brown stains, surface irregularities, and highly noticeable pits.

Is Dental Fluorosis a Common Condition?

It was in the early 20th century that dental fluorosis initially attracted attention. The Colorado brown stains on the teeth of native residents of Colorado Springs surprised researchers back then. The reason for the staining was the higher levels of fluoride in the local water supply. The fluoride occurred naturally in groundwater. However, it also sparked a movement to add fluoride to community water supplies at minor levels to prevent cavities without causing fluorosis.

Approximately one in four Americans between 6 to 49 are affected by fluorosis. Children between 12 to 15 are the most affected. Most cases of dental fluorosis are mild, and only two percent are considered moderate. Severe conditions are below one percent, but researchers have stated that since the mid-80s, fluorosis among children between 12 to 15 has increased.

Fluorosis is not a disease, but its effects are psychologically distressing and challenging to treat. Parental vigilance is necessary to prevent fluorosis among children.

The Causes of Dental Fluorosis

The family dentist in Merritt Island, FL, mentions the most significant cause of fluorosis is the inappropriate use of dental products containing fluoride. Children seem to enjoy the taste of fluoride toothpaste, and a mouth rinse is and sometimes swallow it instead of spitting it out.

Other reasons also exist for the prevalence of fluorosis. Children recommended fluoride supplements by fluoride treatment in Merritt Island, FL, taking higher than the prescribed amount during early childhood, are victims of fluorosis. Taking fluoride supplements when fluoridated drinking water or fluoride fortified soft drinks and juices can also cause fluorosis when taken along with fluoride supplements.

The Symptoms of Fluorosis

The symptoms of fluorosis can range from tiny white specks or streaks that are challenging to notice, or dark brown stains and rough pitted enamel that is changing to clean. Teeth unaffected by dental fluorosis are smooth and glossy or pale creamy white. If you notice your child’s teeth affected by white streaks of spots or observe one or more discolored teeth, contact Dr. Shauna Pittman for advice.

The severity of dental fluorosis is rated by dentists since the 30s in the following categories:

  • Questionable. Slight changes are noticeable on the enamel ranging from a few white dots to the occasional white spots.
  • Very mild. Tiny opaque paper white areas scattered over less than ΒΌ of the tooth surface.
  • Mild. White opaque areas on the teeth’ surface are extensive but below 50 percent of the tooth surface.
  • Moderate. White opaque areas are affecting more than half the enamel surface.
  • Severe. The enamel surfaces are entirely affected, and the teeth have pitting either discrete or running together.

The Treatment for Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis is sufficiently mild, needing no treatment in many cases. Alternatively, fluorosis may also affect the back teeth where it is invisible. The appearance of teeth affected by mild to severe fluorosis is significantly improved by using various techniques. Most methods are aimed at masking the stains.

Some techniques for masking dental fluorosis staining include:

  • Teeth whitening treatments and other procedures for removal of surface stains. However, you must understand teeth bleaching can temporarily worsen the appearance of fluorosis.
  • Dental bonding for coating the tooth with a hard resin bonded to the enamel also helps reduce fluorosis staining.
  • Dental crowns also conceal the affected tooth; besides veneers, custom-made shells cover the teeth’ front surface to improve their appearance. Dental veneers are best used on patients with severe dental fluorosis.
  • Sometimes a calcium phosphate product Mi Paste is combined with methods such as micro-abrasion to minimize tooth discoloration.

Parental vigilance is incredibly essential to prevent the prevalence of dental fluorosis among children during the developmental stages of their permanent teeth. After being affected by dental fluorosis, the staining is conveniently hidden by using cosmetic dentistry techniques from your family dental because treatments to reverse the condition are yet to be discovered.

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