A bright, white smile with straight teeth is the goal when patients choose to use orthodontic braces to correct the alignment of their smile. But sometimes parts of the surface of a patient’s tooth become too white. Showing small white spots or patches, you may be experiencing what is known as white spot lesions (WSL). And your orthodontist may want you to take additional steps to prevent the spread of further white spots to the surfaces of your exposed teeth.
What are White Spots Lesions?
White spot lesions also referred to as WSLs, are different than other white spots that can occur on the surface of the teeth. They appear due to genetics, nutrition, reactions to different medications, or to an overexposure or use of fluoride. White spot lesions are the result of decalcification on the surface of the teeth due to the build-up of excessive plaque. As the enamel of the tooth breaks down due to acid by-products in plaque that dissolve the minerals in the tooth enamel, bright white spots begin to appear. These white spot lesions, if not prevented or treated promptly, can lead to greater loss of enamel and even tooth decay.
For patients wearing orthodontic braces rather than Invisalign braces to straighten and correct their smiles, the risk of developing white spot lesions is higher. This is because of the challenges for those patients to keep their teeth clean and plaque-free. However, even patients who opt to use Invisalign as a means of correcting and improving their smiles should be aware that they are also at risk for white spot lesions if they neglect their oral hygiene routine.
Thankfully, white spot lesions are almost 100% preventable during orthodontic treatment. Only when patients adhere to excellent oral hygiene programs and also see their dentist for regularly scheduled three or four-month cleanings. We recommend more often than the usual twice a year cleanings when you have braces.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are White Spot Lesions Preventable?
White spot lesions that are caused by excessive plaque buildup are 100% preventable with correct oral hygiene. If you have any family history of white spots on teeth due to genetics, nutrition, or other causes, these are not preventable.
Are There any Foods or Drinks Should I Avoid?
Patients in orthodontic treatment plans should avoid all foods that are on the list given to them by their orthodontist which typically includes foods like sticky candy, popcorn, or anything that could cause damage to their orthodontic treatment.
But since white spot lesions are caused by excessive plaque build up, it also may be a good idea to limit eating or drinking sugary foods and beverages such as soda, sugared beverages, candy, sweets, and desserts. Remember to brush after every meal and especially sugary items to help prevent white spots and decay.
How Should I Take Care of My Teeth?
There are several steps you can take to prevent white spot lesions:
1. Use a non-whitening toothpaste for your oral hygiene regimen. While you don’t want to have white spot lesions on your teeth, you also don’t want to over-whiten the exposed areas of your teeth while in orthodontic treatment.
2. Be sure to brush your teeth a minimum of two times per day. Once in the morning and once really well before going to bed in the evenings. You can use a manual or electric toothbrush. Both work equally well as long as you are following the instructions of your orthodontist. Listen on how to angle your toothbrush to remove all plaque.
3. Whenever possible, brush your teeth after each meal and after all sugary snacks and drinks to reduce the chance of plaque buildup.
4. Keep your checkups with your dentist during your orthodontic treatment plan. Your orthodontist will recommend you see your dentist every three months for a professional cleaning and to monitor the health of your teeth.
What if I Do Right Things and Still Get Spots?
Generally speaking, white spot lesions are not reversible. They will not completely disappear which is why excellent oral hygiene is important throughout your life. Especially important during your the time of your orthodontic treatment. While white spot lesions may fade, they may not completely disappear from the surface of your teeth.
If you do begin to notice the appearance of white spot lesions on the exposed surfaces of your teeth while in orthodontic treatment, call the office or your dentist. Make an appointment with them for a professional evaluation. They can advise you of your options and create a tailored plan to keep your teeth in optimum health. Orthodontic treatment to enhance, improve, and correct your smile is an important investment in the health of your teeth. Also in your overall appearance.
White spot lesions, while a concern during orthodontic treatment, are completely preventable. With careful and dedicated preventive oral hygiene care during your orthodontic treatment, you can prevent white spot lesions. Thus, you can look forward to enjoying a confident, beautiful smile for the rest of your life.
Start Smiling Today
Call Tisseront Orthodontics now to schedule your in-office appointment and receive a complimentary professional consultation for your orthodontic needs. Our dedicated team looks forward to your visit. Improving the appearance of your smile puts a smile on our faces.
Don’t wait a lifetime to have the smile of your dreams. A beautifully aligned smile will not only improve your appearance but will help your teeth function properly and add to the lifelong health of your smile. Call now and let Dr. Tisseront be your partner for your healthiest and most beautiful smile.
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11720 Plaza America Drive, Ste. 110
Reston, VA 20190-4762
Phone: (703) 773-1200
White Spots on Teeth (THE ANSWERS)
After attending the University of Paris VII School of Dentistry in Paris, France for both my undergraduate education and my Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree, I continued on to the prestigious Orthodontic Program at Oregon Health Sciences University’s School of Dentistry in Portland, Oregon. During this three year comprehensive Orthodontic Graduate Program, I earned my Master of Science Degree in Orthodontics.
I participate in regular continuing education to keep abreast of the latest techniques in orthodontics available today. My bio-mechanics background coupled with my passion for orthodontics is a winning combination for all of my patients. Participating in classes and seminars allows me to stay current with all of the latest trends in orthodontics to pass on to my patients!