Fluorosis is a cosmetic condition that affects the teeth. It’s caused by overexposure to fluoride during the first eight years of life. This is the time when most permanent teeth are being formed.
After the teeth come in, the teeth of those affected by fluorosis may appear mildly discolored. For instance, there may be lacy white markings that only dentists can detect. In more severe cases, however, the teeth may have:-
- Stains ranging from yellow to dark brown
- Surface irregularities
- Pits that are highly noticeable
A major cause of fluorosis is the inappropriate use of fluoride-containing dental products such as toothpaste and mouth rinses. Sometimes, children enjoy the taste of fluoridated toothpaste so much that they swallow it instead of spitting it out.
But there are other causes of fluorosis. For example, taking a higher-than-prescribed amount of a fluoride supplement during early childhood can cause it. So can taking a fluoride supplement when fluoridated drinking water or fluoride-fortified fruit juices and soft drinks already proviFluorosis Symptoms
In many cases, fluorosis is so mild that no treatment is needed. Or, it may only affect the back teeth where it can’t be seen.
The appearance of teeth affected by moderate-to-severe fluorosis can be significantly improved by a variety of techniques. Most of them are aimed at masking the stains.
Such techniques may include:
- Tooth whitening and other procedures to remove surface stains; note that bleaching teeth may temporarily worsen the appearance of fluorosis.
- Bonding, which coats the tooth with a hard resin that bonds to the enamel
- Veneers, which are custom-made shells that cover the front of the teeth to improve their appearance; these are used in cases of severe fluorosis.
- MI Paste, a calcium phosphate product that is sometimes combined with methods like microabrasion to minimize tooth discoloration.