Hypoplasia: The Causes For White Spots On Children's Teeth And What To Do About It

Dentist Blog

It is quite natural for teeth to have color variations, including white, yellow and, sometimes, brown spots. And since teeth vary greatly from person to person, no two people have the exact same color patterns and color variations. However, some spots, especially white spots, are not part of natural tooth development and are actually caused by an external force. White spots that are not caused by natural variations in color are referred to as hypoplasia or hypocalcification. If you've noticed white spots on your child's teeth, you should talk to your dentist and see if your child's spots are caused by any one of the following. 


If your child has a distinct white spot in a localized area or has a horizontal line across one tooth, it might have been caused by trauma or injury to the tooth. Most isolated and localized spots are caused by a single traumatic event. Spots caused by systemic disturbances occur over a long period of time and normally affect a large portion of the enamel found on multiple teeth. 

If your child's white spot is due to trauma, there's nothing you can really do about it other than make sure the tooth is structurally sound. If the tooth is not a permanent tooth, it will eventually fall out. If the tooth is permanent, the spot will likely be permanent as well. 


In some cases, white spots are caused by the buildup of plaque and can actually indicate tooth decay. If your child has a spot that appeared suddenly, you might want to point it out to your dentist since these spots are more likely to be associated with decay than spots that have been there for the life of the tooth. Treatment for decay includes fillings and crowns. 


Spots that affect large portions of the enamel can be caused by the consumption of too much fluoride during developmental years. This rare condition, called fluorosis, develops before teeth erupt or break through the gums. Fluorosis can appear as white spots, lines or streaks. In severe cases, the spots may appear gray or black. There is no treatment for fluorosis other than cosmetic treatments to reduce the appearance of the spots. 

There are several things that can cause white spots on your child's teeth. If the spots are new, talk to your dentist about them. If the spots have been there as long as you can remember, they are probably nothing to worry about. However, you can still talk to your dentist about them to get an accurate diagnosis. 

For more information, contact Kids First Pediatric Dentistry or a similar location.


26 January 2015