The most common consumption of fluoride is via water with the substance in it (such as tap water in bottles when young) or swallowing amounts of fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride stains on your teeth can begin to form when you are young and look more apparent as your teeth naturally yellow with age.
This condition is referred to as "dental fluorosis" and is typically caused by consuming too much fluoride in your early years of life. It causes small whitish spots to appear on the edges of your teeth and can also cause your teeth to look pitted or uneven on the surface.
The condition ranges from mild, where the spots are hardly noticeable, to severe, where the spots are not only white but brown-edged. Luckily this unsightly and relatively common condition can be treated. Here are three ways you can remove or reduce fluoride stains on your teeth for a brighter, healthier smile.
Veneers are small porcelain caps placed over your existing teeth to make your smile brighter and more even. If your teeth are otherwise very healthy and your enamel isn't largely pitted (if they are pitted they will feel a little rough or bumpy), then the veneers can be placed on top of your existing teeth to cover the stains.
Your dentist may file down a small portion of your teeth so the veneers appear natural and don't make your teeth larger. Once you have your veneers in place your fluoride stains are covered for healthier-looking teeth. With proper care and regular dental checkups, you can expect your veneers to last 10 years or longer.
2. Teeth Whitening
For mild to slightly moderate cases in which fluorosis is slightly noticeable and only contains small white spots, teeth whitening can be very beneficial. You will want to talk to your dentist to see if this is an option for you to reduce or eliminate your uneven tooth color, especially if your enamel is heavily stained or pitted.
Teeth whitening involves using a bleaching agent and light therapy to remove stains and can temporarily cause your fluoride spots to appear brighter, but as the teeth whitening settles, the stains become nearly invisible.
This is a very common treatment option for many patients with mild to moderate fluorosis. Since most adults have some form of this dental condition, it's likely your dentist has seen cases like yours before and will be able to recommend a teeth whitening treatment that will give you the best results.
3. Enamel Microabrasion
If you have very severe dental fluorosis then your dentist will want to file away a bulk of the stains before they do any other treatment. One of the most common treatments for brown or darker fluoride stains is a technique called enamel microabrasion.
Enamel microabrasion is the process of filing down the outer edges of your enamel down using acidic and abrasive materials, such as pumice. The heavier, deep-set areas of your stains are removed this way, and pitting is also smoothed out for a healthier appearance to your teeth.
Your dentist will perform this procedure based on how deep your stains are and how healthy your existing tooth enamel is. This part of the stain removal process is often done in addition to teeth whitening or adding veneers for very severe cases.
Your dentist can help give you a beautiful smile where you don't have to be embarrassed about your fluoride stains anymore. Talk to your dentist about how you can avoid fluoride tooth damage in the future. For all your dental health needs, our friendly team at Brian W. Hazen, D.M.D. are here to treat you and your family.