We are all aware of yellowing of the teeth, or indeed, how teeth can change colour due to extensive staining from foods or even due to medical treatments. It is an annoyance and can seriously impact on our confidence. But, thanks to the exposure that this cosmetic issue has had through adverts and articles online, we are also aware that whitening toothpastes can reduce the appearance of stains. If there is extensive staining, we know to book an appointment with either a cosmetic dentist for whitening or hygienist for a scale and polish.
When it comes to having that pearly white smile, there is one condition that many dental patients have but do not seek treatment for; mottling or white spots appearing on the teeth. Aesthetic dentistry in Harley Street and across the UK see this interesting presentation everyday and can offer a solution to improve the appearance of your teeth.
What is tooth mottling? What causes it?
Tooth mottling, known as dental fluorosis, is characterised by hyper mineralisation of tooth enamel. Cosmetic dentists have concluded that it could be caused by ingestion of excess fluoride during the formation of the enamel. Visually, the teeth may appear to have white spots, a slightly brown appearance or may visually resemble a mottled marble, with different hues of the enamel on the tooth.
There are other environmental factors that can create white spots on the teeth, which include family genetics, wearing braces, acid erosion caused by either acid reflux or high acid diet, enamel erosion due to plaque or a lapse in oral hygiene.
What can my cosmetic dentist do?
Although fluorosis sounds like a permanent dental condition, it is not, there is help at hand.
Unlike some cleaning techniques which can involve a cleaning drill, the removal of fluorosis or white spots can be achieved without a drill or any invasive procedure.
In the past, the only way to smooth the appearance of the teeth due to mottling was with composite veneers, which could be expensive for most people. Today, technologies such as ICON are used.
How does ICON resolve white spots?
ICON uses a process of infiltration to blend white spots or excess mottling to the rest of the tooth.
This process is divided into 3 separate stages.
The tooth is prepared with ICON Etch; a gel which removes the pseudo-intact surface layer of the white spot and allows access to the lesion behind the mottling.
Ethanol is applied to the tooth, to provide the necessary dryness; during this, the opaque whiteness of the spots should be reduced.
A resin is applied and penetrates deep into the enamel, filling in the pores behind the white spot. This resin is then light cured, and the natural appearance of the tooth is restored. The white spots or mottling has been treated cosmetically, whilst also treating the porous lesion under the tooth.