White Spots on Your Teeth After Whitening: What Do They Mean?

Even if you don't entirely believe all the fabulous claims that the manufacturers of teeth whitening kits make, you'll expect their product to work. What's more, as their product whitens your teeth, you'll expect it to do so evenly. So why have your attempts at whitening caused a number of white spots to develop on your teeth? Those white spots are not the beginning of the whitening process. It's not as though the spots will slowly expand until the entire tooth has whitened. In fact, to achieve your desired results, you'll need to get to the bottom of what is causing your white spots.

Your Concentration of Dental Enamel 

A condition called hypo-calcification may be the culprit. This is a minor irregularity in which your dental enamel has still formed across the tooth's surface, but has an abnormal concentration — making your enamel hypo-mineralised. These patches of hypo-calcification were always there, but your whitening efforts have brought them into greater contrast — meaning they're far more prominent. 

Deteriorating Dental Enamel

White spots may also be caused by the deterioration of the tooth's enamel, causing surface flaws. As the enamel erodes and a dental cavity begins to form, the tooth's underlying dentin is exposed. Teeth whitening kits are formulated to colour dental enamel and not dentin. When the surfaces of your teeth have deteriorated and are a combination of both enamel and dentin, your whitening attempts may deliver inconsistent results — such as your white patches. In short, those worrying white spots mean your dental enamel probably wasn't in the best state to begin whitening. So, what happens next?

Pause Your Whitening

Stop your at-home whitening efforts. You're only going to make the issue worse, and when your dental enamel is deficient, you're risking the health of your teeth (you don't want that corrosive whitening gel to migrate to the tooth's nerve). Although the white patches will ultimately fade, it's crucial to address the dental issue that caused them, meaning you'll need to see your dentist.

Fitting Restorations

Deficient or hypo-calcified enamel can't be restored. It can, however, be replaced. Your dentist will need to cover the areas of concern, and this can involve having a dental crown fitted to the tooth, or having the incomplete patches of enamel covered with a tooth-coloured composite resin, applied directly to the tooth. These teeth have now been fitted with restorations, and these should be the shade of white you ultimately wish to achieve. Your dentist can then whiten the rest of your teeth to match.

White spots on your teeth suggest an enamel irregularity. While it's a problem, it's not a major one — but your whitening efforts are going to need some help from your dentist. To learn more about tooth whitening, talk to a dentist in your area.