Daily dental hygiene is important for everybody if they want to keep their teeth healthy and cavity free. This includes brushing with a fluoride rich toothpaste and flossing between all teeth. It is also important to have a hygienist scrape the plaque off your teeth every six months. This is, of course, the general rule for anyone who wants to keep their teeth. When a patient is undergoing orthodontic treatment, specifically braces, it is crucial to keep impeccable dental hygiene. The bonding cement used to affix braces to the teeth creates a seal that can still allow microbes to penetrate the enamel. Bacteria will breed in these regions and begin to wear down the minerals in the tooth. This will most likely go unnoticed by the patient until the braces are removed. Then they will see white spots on their teeth in the outline of where the braces used to be.
This is what is known as decalcification or demineralization. Bacteria have eaten away the top layer of the tooth and exposed the surface to potential harm. Many of these spots can feel pitted and coarse. While they might not cause any pain at the moment, they can lead to future cavities much easier than a healthy tooth. If left untreated, these white spots will remain on your teeth permanently. Fortunately, there are a few methods to aid in the process of removing them but only with the help of a dentist.
Talk to your dentist and see which of the following approaches is right for you. This could depend on your dentist’s professional recommendations based on his experience and knowledge. Factors such as finances and severity of your decalcification can also play a large part in the method they advise. Here is an outline to understand each method, the move in order from light to more severe decalcification.
Re-Mineralization – if your decalcification is not severe at all you can try a homeopathic or a fluoride rich tooth powder to add when you brush. This will help whiten the rest of the tooth to balance out the decalcification and can help restore the top layer of enamel.
Microabrasion – this is the use of hydrochloric acid and pumice to remove the stains from the teeth. This might be an easy solution if the decalcification is shallow.
Veneers – veneers are a custom made shell for your teeth. They are made of a composite porcelain material. They improve the shape and color of the teeth. Some enamel is removed in the process as they are applied. They should last for about 10 years.
Composite Restoration – if there is a larger amount of tooth decay then you can ask about composite restoration. This is a plastic and glass mix that is applied to the damaged part of the tooth. Think of this as a halfway step before a filling.