White Spots On Teeth

My daughter had braces. When they came off there were white spots on her teeth. Our dentist suggested we have teeth whitening done to even out the whitening, but that just seems to be making it worse. What do we do?


Dear Carolyn,

Teeth Bleaching Trays

Dear Carolyn,

Your dentist may mean well, but he or she doesn’t have a good understanding of how teeth whitening works. While a cost-effective way of helping stained teeth look younger, brighter, and more attractive, it is not useful for uneven color. This is because it will whiten your teeth evenly. Her teeth will be whiter, but so will her white spots.

The spots that developed are areas of decalcification. Those are cavities. They are pretty common after braces. Teenagers don’t always get between all those wires and brackets effectively.

One thing you can try is a product called Tooth Mousse. It is designed to help remineralize those spots. That would be my first go-to.

If that doesn’t work, then you can go to a cosmetic dentist and have both microabrasion and dental bonding done on those spots.

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Five Years Old’s Teeth Rotting

I need some advice, My five year old daughter has some problems with her molars. Two of them have small cavities and two of them have lost about 30% of their structure. I want some advice of what to do about this before I take her to a pediatric dentist. Will they have to be removed? She’s awful young to have to lose teeth. She is saying that it hurts when she chews so I know I need to bring her in.


Dear Laurie,

young boy smiling with toothbrush

I love that you are trying to figure out the best thing for your daughter. At her age, all of her teeth are all baby teeth and she needs them for many years to come. It is important you get her to see a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. This is especially true for her back teeth. They need to stay in her mouth until she is about twelve years old.

The molars with the small cavities will definitely be able to be saved. The ones where you estimate there is 30% loss of structure, I hope can be saved with a dental crown.

If they cannot be saved, it will be imperative that your dentist place a space maintainer there. If the molars are just removed, the remainder of her teeth will drift into that open space. then, when her twelve year old molars try to come in, there will not be enough space. This will lead to crowding and expensive orthodontics.

The extent of her decay is a little unusual for her age. It may be time for a bit of tough love on your part. She can brush her teeth twice a day just like she is supposed to, but if she is a frequent snacker it will sabotage her oral health. This is because one of the biggest proponents of oral health is our saliva, which contains bacteria fighting minerals. If she is a frequent snacker or drinks a lot of juice, does not give her salvia enough time to do its job.

I would limit her to one or two snacks a day and make sure she is not drinking a lot of juice or sodas.

One other thing. I know you are trying to get all your ducks in a row before seeing the pediatric dentist, which is admirable, but don’t put it off. These cavities can easily turn into a tooth infection, which will be a dental emergency.

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