Do You Have Chalky Teeth?
Chalky teeth may have a softer, more gritty feel to the enamel. They may also have obvious white or brown spots that stand out from the rest of the tooth.
If the problem is severe, you may experience frequent breaks, along with tooth decay, that cause them to crumble. Tooth sensitivity is also common, due to the lack of solid enamel.
The medical term for chalky teeth is enamel hypoplasia. You may also hear us refer to this condition as hypomineralization. This simply means that the tooth enamel lacks the appropriate amount of minerals to make it strong. Your child’s baby teeth may come in chalky, and the condition also affects the adult teeth.
In most cases, chalky teeth begin during the first stages of tooth development, when something prevents healthy enamel from forming. Infants who are premature or have a low birth weight are at risk for developing enamel hypoplasia, and children who experience serious illnesses early in their life also have a higher chance of having chalky adult teeth. Proper care and treatment are essential to deal with the potential issues that having poor tooth enamel can cause.
Reduce Exposure to Acidic Foods and Drinks
Poorly formed enamel is often not thick enough to prevent damage from the acids that are found in most foods and drinks. Acid erosion is an issue that tends to affect people with hypomineralization the most. Try to limit sugary drinks such as soda. You may also want to rinse your mouth out after having something that is acidic, to help further remove the residue that erodes enamel.
Address Sensitivity With Fluoride Treatments
Teeth that have thin enamel may hurt when you eat, drink or brush your teeth. Fluoride treatments can be administered using special pastes or mouth rinses in our office.
We may also recommend a specific toothpaste or mouthwash for you to use at home. Fluoride helps to build up the enamel so that you experience less pain and tooth decay.
Use Fissure Sealants
We often see areas on the back molars that show signs of poor enamel. These often include pits and fissures that create a place for food to get trapped and contribute to decay. Fissure sealants help to fill in these areas so that it is easier to maintain proper oral hygiene.
Address the Discolorations
The white, yellow or light brown spots created by improperly formed tooth enamel can be embarrassing for some people. This is especially true when it is on the front teeth that show when you smile. Teeth whitening treatments may be an option to lighten up the other parts of your teeth that surround a white spot. Veneers can also cover up unsightly coloring on your teeth.
Cover the Teeth With Dental Crowns
A dental crown is often the most effective way to deal with all of the issues caused by chalky teeth. By covering up the tooth, we restore its strength after a break or a fracture.
The crown also minimizes the risk of decay since less of the enamel is exposed. With tooth-colored crowns, you can also make sure that the restoration blends in with the rest of your teeth so that you no longer worry about those awkward colored spots.
Weakened tooth enamel often develops before a person is born, which makes it hard to prevent. However, there are things that you can do to prevent the issue from getting worse. A diagnosis of enamel hypoplasia makes it even more important to attend your regular dental checkups. During your visits, we can check for complications, such as chips and tooth decay, that are easily treated in the early stages.