Fluoride Action Network

Dental Fluorosis

"Common sense should tell us that if a poison circulating in a child's body can damage the tooth-forming cells, then other harm also is likely." - Dr. John Colquhoun (1997).


Although the enamel defect caused by dental fluorosis is permanent, the tooth discoloration that fluorosis causes can be reduced, and sometimes eliminated, through cosmetic treatment. Treatment options for fluorosis, however, will depend on the severity of the fluorosis. Three common treatment options include:

  • Micro-abrasion: Abrasion involves finely sanding off the outer layer of the enamel. It is a common approach when the fluorosis is very mild and mild. A recent published study indicates that it may also work for moderate fluorosis as well. (Limeback 2006). However, if the fluorosis is of a more advanced severity, abrasion is probably not a good idea as it can bring to the tooth’s surface highly-porous enamel that will be prone to attrition.

For advanced forms of fluorosis, the two main options are composite bonding and veneers.

  • Composite bonding: Composite bonding first involves lightly roughening the area of the damaged enamel. After etching the enamel, a composite resin (with a color matching your teeth) is “glued” on to the exterior of the tooth.
  • Porcelain veneers/laminates: Veneers form a ceramic shell over the surface of the tooth. This treatment option is an expensive one, particularly since the veneers may need to be replaced after several years.

To determine which method of treating fluorosis will be best for you, contact your local dentist. If your dentist doesn’t specialize in cosmetic dentistry, he/she should be able to refer you to a nearby dentist who does.

Published Research:

1) Microabrasion:

Limeback H, et al. (2006). Improving esthetically objectionable human enamel fluorosis with a simple microabrasion technique. European Journal of Oral Science 114(Supp 1): 123-26.

Loguercio AD, et al. (2007). Clinical effectiveness of two microabrasion materials for the removal of enamel fluorosis stains. Operative Dentistry 32:531-8. Full text available online at: http://www.jopdentonline.org/doi/abs/10.2341/06-172.

Ramalho KM, et al. (2010). A minimally invasive procedure for esthetic achievement: enamel microabrasion of fluorosis stains. General Dentistry 58:e225-9.

2) Treatment for Severe fluorosis:

Ng F, Manton DJ. (2007). Aesthetic management of severely fluorosed incisors in an adolescent female. Australian Dental Journal 52:243-48.

Noble J, et al. (2008). What additional precautions should I take when bonding to severely fluorotic teeth? Journal of the Canadian Dental Association 74:891-2. Full text available online at: http://www.cda-adc.ca/jcda/vol-74/issue-10/891.pdf

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