In our previous blog post, we’ve discussed dental fluorosis and its causes. In this post, we’ll continue to discuss more about this dental condition, including its symptoms and classifications, treatment and prevention.
Symptoms of Dental Fluorosis
Normal tooth enamel has a shiny appearance with some level of translucency. But when your tooth gets affected by fluorosis, the enamel loses its translucency and gradually becomes opaque with a dull, chalky appearance. The signs can range from mild white specks or streaks to yellowish and dark brown stains.
Classification of Dental Fluorosis
There are mainly two types of classification systems associated with the diagnosis of dental fluorosis – Dean’s Index and TF Index. Dean’s index was first published by H. Trendley Dean in 1934 which calculates the fluorosis score of an individual based on the most severe forms of the condition found on two or more teeth. However, this index was amended two times and the final version appeared in 1942.
TF index is a logical extension of Dean’s index that was published by Thylstrup and Fejerskov in 1978. It incorporates the modern approach to the pathology of fluorosis. The other classification systems include Horowitz’s tooth surface fluorosis index (1984) and Pendrys’s fluorosis risk index.
Combining these indexes, dentists today determine the fluorosis score of patients based on the severity level of the symptoms as follows:
- Mild: When the condition is mild, opaque or chalky-white streaks and/or patches appear across a limited area of the tooth enamel. Most often, the same teeth on both sides of the mouth show similar discolouration patterns.
- Moderate: In this case, all the enamel surfaces are affected with brown stains. Signs of surface wear such as pitting are also evident.
- Severe: In severe cases of fluorosis, all the teeth enamel surfaces have dark brown stains. The tooth structure is also affected by severe fluorosis where the enamel becomes fragile causing significant tooth wear.
Treatment of Fluorosis
When the condition is very mild or mild, you may not need any treatment. However, moderate to severe cases need proper dental treatment to improve tooth appearance. There are several techniques which your dentist may apply to mask the stains depending on the severity of your teeth condition. Some of these techniques include teeth whitening, veneers, crowns, dental bonding and MI paste.
How to Prevent the Dental Condition
Parental oversight plays a major role in preventing fluorosis. Keep toothpaste, rinses, and supplements containing fluoride out of reach of young children. Also, monitor your child’s use of fluoridated products. Your child shouldn’t be using more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to brush their teeth. It’s also crucial to spit out the toothpaste after brushing and to encourage this, avoid buying toothpaste with pleasant flavours. This is because children are more likely to swallow toothpaste that are great to taste.
In addition to this, get the fluoride levels of your water checked by a local water authority or a dentist to determine if your child needs an extra fluoride supplement. Since the severity of the condition depends on the duration and level of overexposure, your dentist can help you calculate fluoride intake and give you proper preventative measures. For children 2 years of age or under, ask your dentist if unfluoridated toothpaste can be used.
Found any of these symptoms of fluorosis in your child? Visit a dentist without delay. At Dentistry on Dusk, we’re committed to providing advanced treatment to you and your family. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.