Diagnosis and treatment options for anterior white spot lesions


White spot lesions on teeth present as white opacities due to enamel surface and/or subsurface demineralisation. Unfortunately, dentistry has seen a marked jump in prevalence and severity of white spot lesions over the past decade. In response to the rise in white spot lesions, the dental industry has been pushed to create less invasive alternatives for the removal of these lesions, particularly when located anteriorly. There are numerous different causes of white spot lesions that influence how the enamel substructure is affected and which treatment option is selected. Once, the only treatment option for white spot lesions was drilling the defects away, but with a better understanding of the science and the aetiology, we have now been able to create minimally invasive, preventive alternatives. It is vital that the cause, size and depth of the white spot lesions are ascertained before providing treatment options to a patient, as treatment results will vary depending on the enamel substructure available. This paper will explore the main causes of white spot lesions and the recommended treatments for them.

Key points

  • Understanding of the aetiology of white spot lesions.

  • Understanding the treatment options available and their efficacy.

  • Understanding the relationship between enamel substructure and treatment prognosis.

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Correspondence to Victoria Sampson.

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Sampson, V., Sampson, A. Diagnosis and treatment options for anterior white spot lesions. Br Dent J 229, 348–352 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-2057-x

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