Dental fluorosis is caused by ingesting too much fluoride while the teeth are developing. Dental fluorosis discolors the teeth. The staining can range from white flecks to deep brown stains.
In this post, I will talk about the various treatments for dental fluorosis. If you’re interested in how dental fluorosis occurs and want to see a couple different pictures to see what dental fluorosis looks like, check out my previous article, Dental Fluorosis: Too Much Fluoride Stains Teeth.
Dental Fluorosis Treatment: Four Ways Dental Fluorosis Is Treated
There are a few different ways that dental fluorosis can be treated.
1 – Porcelain Laminate Veneers. One of the most esthetic ways is by placing porcelain laminate veneers over the affected teeth as shown in the picture to the right. In this procedure, less than 1 millimeter of the front surface of the tooth is shaved away. The dentist takes an impression, and then a dental lab makes a veneer that looks great and fits perfectly into the spot that was shaved away by the dentist.
2 – Enamel Microabrasion. This is the least invasive method of treating dental fluorosis. In this method of fluorosis treatment, the dentist treats the tooth with acid and then sands away a tiny layer of enamel off of the tooth using pumice. After this is completed, the dentist then applies topical fluoride and a solution to help remineralize the teeth. It is important to note that the topical fluoride that is applied simply helps to make the enamel stronger. Topical fluoride will not cause fluorosis — fluorosis is caused by ingesting fluoride systemically.
Not sure what remineralization means? Read the article Try to Keep Your Teeth Below Freezing to find out.
The book Dental Fluorosis: A Handbook for Health Workers states the following about this technique, “In reality the improvements in appearance are primarily the result of abrading the outer porous enamel with pumice after it has been partly demineralized by the acid.”
This procedure may need to be repeated several times to obtain satisfactory results.
3 – Direct Composite Veneers (Also Known as Composite Bonding). This procedure is similar to the porcelain laminate veneers mentioned above. However, after shaving down the front of your teeth, the dentist doesn’t take an impression to send to the lab. The dentist simply repairs the tooth using white composite filling material. This covers up the affected tooth with an aesthetic tooth-colored filling.
The drawback of this procedure is that direct composite veneers sometimes only last a few years and then may need to be replaced with a crown or porcelain laminate veneers.
Interested in direct composite veneers? See a picture of how a front tooth can be repaired with composite filling material in the article, How a Chipped Tooth Can Be Repaired with a White Composite Filling.
4 – A Dental Crown. During a dental crown procedure, the dentist shaves down around the whole tooth and then places an aesthetic crown over the tooth. This is the most invasive treatment that is normally done for the treatment of dental fluorosis.
To learn more about what dental crown is and how the teeth are prepared, read the article Dental Crown Procedure: What Is a Crown or Cap?
Although it would be possible to remove teeth affected by fluorosis and then place dental implants, I didn’t include that here because it is not normally a treatment option. Most teeth affected by fluorosis are healthy and more resistant to cavities. Their downfall is in their appearance. I don’t believe that removing healthy teeth for aesthetic reasons is the best option when there are other less invasive options.
In summary, the least invasive way to treat dental fluorosis is through enamel microabrasion. After that, the dentist can shave down the front of the tooth and either place a composite filling material or a porcelain laminate veneer to cover up the front surface of the tooth. The most invasive treatment of dental fluorosis involves placing a crown around the whole tooth.
Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about dental fluorosis and its treatment? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!