Dr. Johnny Johnson and Associates, Pediatric Dentists
Dr. Johnny Johnson and Associates, Pediatric Dentists


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Why did my child's teeth grow in with white or yellow spots on them?

                                               Before                              After

(Above: A picture of a tooth a with brown hypocalified spot, the patient had cosmetic tooth bonding to remove the spot)

When a tooth has been disturbed during its formation, it may develop atypical or abnormal enamel. If you child’s teeth grew in with white, brown, or yellow spots on them, they may have a condition called hypocalcified enamel.  We most commonly see this on the first permanent molars and on the permanent incisors (front teeth) though it can happen to any or all teeth. It is often difficult to trace back the cause, but can be due to illness or trauma during infancy or early childhood. This could include infections, high fever, malnutrition, or medications used for prolonged periods of time.

In milder forms, it shows as white spots on the teeth which can cause a cosmetic concern. We do not recommend treatment of these hypocalcified areas until your child is at least in their early teens, when a more adult gingival height has developed. At that time, there are procedures that can be done to give your child’s teeth a more uniform color. Treatment may include microabrasion of the tooth, bleaching, or in some cases, removal of the hypocalcified area and replacement with a white filling.

In more severe cases, especially when involving the first permanent molars, hypocalcified teeth can result in enamel that is weaker, and more susceptible to chipping or decay. When this occurs, it is important to remove the chipped or decayed enamel and replace with a white filling. In certain severe cases, it is necessary to use a stainless steel crown as temporary treatment to protect the tooth until your child is only enough to have a white porcelain crown placed. This is usually around the age of 18, when all permanent teeth are erupted, growth is finished, and the bite is stable.

 Other conditions such as dental decay or decalcified areas can be mistaken for hypocalcified teeth by the untrained eye. These other types of white spots are usually not present when the teeth first come in, but can develop quickly if your child has an acidic or sugary diet paired with poor brushing and flossing habits. It is extemely important to differenciate the cause of your child's white spots, which our doctors are trained to diagnose and clarify for you.                          

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Maggie N. Davis, DMD, LLC serves Palm Harbor and the surrounding Tampa Bay area, including including Tarpon Springs, New Port Richey, Holiday, North Pinellas, Tampa, Oldsmar, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Clearwater, Ozona, Odessa, Port Richey, Hudson, New Tampa, Trinity, Hillsborough, East Lake
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Dr. Johnny Johnson and Associates, Pediatric Dentists