White Spot Lesions: A Serious but Often Ignored Complication of Orthodontic Treatment

The Open Dentistry Journal 25 Apr 2022 REVIEW ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/18742106-v16-e2202230



The objective of this narrative review is to present an overview of the prevalence, clinical manifestation, diagnosis, and latest advances on white spot lesions.


White spot lesions have been defined as the earliest stage of demineralization on enamel surfaces that are easily discernible to the human eye.


Relevant articles on white spot lesions were searched and reviewed from March 1975 till May 2021 in Pubmed, Scopus, Google Scholar, and ScienceDirect and were included in this review.


Even though the orthodontic field has seen several advances over the last few years, this is one complication that persists. White spot lesions are very commonly seen after completion of fixed orthodontic therapy when brackets are debonded. Previously conducted research has shown that there is a high prevalence rate of white spot lesions, which ranges from 50 to 90%. On intra-oral examination, a white spot can be seen as a matte-textured, opaque white lesion. Since the demineralization process takes place below the enamel surface, the outer layer only demonstrates pores that affect the natural light refractory properties of a tooth. This is what leads to the characteristic appearance of these lesions. One of the goals of modern dentistry is to treat non-cavitated lesions by promoting remineralization without the involvement of any invasive procedures.


Fixed orthodontic therapy is usually a lengthy process and requires active cooperation between the orthodontist and the patient. However, it is the responsibility of the treating orthodontist to examine the tooth surfaces at each appointment to diagnose a developing white spot lesion as early as possible. With recent advances in diagnostic techniques, it has become much easier to identify these initial lesions and prevent their progression to cavitated lesions.

Keywords: White spot lesions, Orthodontic, Demineralization, Complication, Esthetic, Decay.
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