Understanding dental fluorosis

Written by: Dr Anne Gormley
Edited by: Kate Forristal

Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic condition that often raises concerns among parents and individuals, yet it does not pose a threat to the overall health of teeth. It occurs when excessive fluoride is consumed during the formation of 'adult' teeth, typically between the ages of 3 months to 8 years. Once teeth have erupted through the gums, the risk of developing fluorosis diminishes. In her latest online article, Dr Anne Gormley gives us her insights.

Signs of fluorosis manifest as faint white or brown lines, or discoloured spots on the enamel or surface of the tooth. In most instances, fluorosis is subtle, presenting as tiny white specks or streaks on affected teeth. However, severe cases may lead to noticeable discoloration, unevenness, and rough texture of the teeth.


It's essential to understand that while fluorosis may alter the appearance of teeth, it does not compromise their functionality or health. Fluorosis occurs during the tooth development stage, affecting the enamel's formation. Enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, is comprised mostly of minerals, primarily hydroxyapatite. Fluoride, when present in excess during enamel formation, can disrupt its crystalline structure, leading to the characteristic discoloration associated with fluorosis.


Prevention of fluorosis primarily involves monitoring fluoride intake, especially during early childhood when teeth are developing. Sources of fluoride include fluoridated water, toothpaste, and certain dietary supplements. Dental professionals typically recommend using only a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste for young children and supervising their brushing habits to minimise the risk of swallowing excess fluoride.


Furthermore, understanding the difference between the recommended fluoride levels for dental health and excessive intake leading to fluorosis is crucial. While fluoride is instrumental in preventing tooth decay and strengthening enamel, overconsumption during tooth development can result in fluorosis.


Treatment options for fluorosis primarily focus on improving the appearance of affected teeth. These may include tooth whitening procedures, dental bonding, or the use of veneers to cover severely discoloured teeth. However, the necessity for treatment depends on the severity of the condition and individual preferences.


Dr Anne Gormley is an esteemed dentist. You can schedule an appointment with Dr Gormley on her Top Doctors profile.

By Dr Anne Gormley

Dr Anne Gormley is a leading dental practitioner and facial aesthetics clinician based in Magherafelt. With over 30 years of experience in dentistry, Dr Gormley is also the clinical head at the renowned Spires Oral & Dermal Care clinic.

A leading and trusted specialist, Dr Gormley has combined her proficiency in both facial rejuvenation and cosmetic dentistry to create the perfect look for her clients to improve their self-confidence. Her areas of expertise include Invisalign, veneers, teeth whitening, bonds, crowns and bridgework, and the Align, Bleach, Bond (ABB) technique, as well as Profhilo, dermal facial fillers, volumising lip fillers, and skin rejuvenation to treat fine lines and wrinkles.

Dr Gormley qualified with a Bachelor of Dental Science from Newcastle University in 1991. She received membership to the Royal College of Surgeons in 1996 and went on to complete two prestigious clinical attachments in Oral Surgery and in Orthodontics at Antrim Area Hospital and at the Waveney/Mid Ulster Hospital, respectively.

She also worked for seven years as a clinical supervisor in restorative and cosmetic dentistry at Royal Victoria Hospital, excelling in advanced crown and bridgework. Additionally, Dr Gormley completed an Open University module in Paediatric Dentistry from Bristol University and finished a one-year part-time course in Implant Surgery and Prosthetics as well.

Within facial aesthetics, Dr Gormley achieved a Postgraduate Certificate on Facial Aesthetics (PG Cert Level 7) from Northumbria University, and also holds accreditations for the use of Obagi, Profhilo, and Enlighten. Thanks to her extensive training, Dr Gormley expanded Spires Oral by opening the Aesthetic Hub, where she offers an exclusive range of cosmetic dental treatments and non-surgical facial treatments. 

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