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Tooth discolourations that may benefit from enamel micro-abrasion

September 30, 2019

These are a few examples of tooth discolouration that may benefit from enamel micro-abrasion:


Dental fluorosis is caused by excess fluoride exposure during the period when the tooth enamel is forming. Mild to moderate fluorosis presents as opaque white flecks over the tooth surface. Severe dental fluorosis that has resulted in pits forming on the surface is usually too deep to be treated with micro-abrasion.


White Spot Lesions

The earliest visible sign of dental caries is the white spot lesion. The outer layer of teeth is made up of a crystalline material that is translucent. When the demineralization (break down) of these crystals, exceeds the remineralization (reforming), in a certain area, then water and air replace the broken down crystals.  This results in an opaque white area that is no longer translucent.

Early tooth decay - white line near gum

Developmental conditions

Molar incisor hypomineralisation and amylogenesis imperfecta are two examples of inherited conditions that can result in demineralized and discoloured enamel.


Extrinsic Staining

This is staining on teeth resulting from heavily coloured foods, drinks or chromogenic bacteria (bacteria that cause a stain on the surface of teeth).

Chromogenic bacteria staining in a child

Any defects that are deeper into the tooth structure, such as tetracycline staining or dentinal defects, cannot be improved with enamel micro-abrasion.

– Dr Esther

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