Can You Reverse Enamel Erosion?
Although it is the hardest substance in your body, yes it is even harder than your bones, the enamel is still prone to decay. Similar to bones, once it is gone, the portion lost cannot be replaced naturally and requires restorative dentistry. However, if it has weakened, its restoration is possible. In both cases, your local Shreveport dentist, Dr. Ben Kacos, is happy to find a solution not only for enamel erosion but also for any other dental troubles you might be facing.
What is tooth enamel, and what does it do?
Enamel is the outer shell, a thin layer, which covers the tooth crown and protects the more sensitive parts of the tooth. You can think of it as a barrier which shields the sensitive inner layers of your teeth from the adverse effects of acids, plaque, and other hot and cold foods. Enamel acts as an insulator against harmful temperatures and chemicals. Enamel also protects your teeth from daily wear and tear caused by chewing, biting, crunching, and grinding. Although it is very hard, it is still prone to chips, cracks, and decay. Since there are no living cells present in the enamel, once it’s chipped or cracked, the damage is permanent.
What are the causes of enamel erosion?
The primary cause of enamel erosion is the acid caused by bacteria present in the mouth, which can wear away the enamel on the teeth. Enamel erosion can also be caused by several other factors, some of which are:
- Soft drinks: Soft drinks contain high levels of phosphoric and citric acids, both of which are harmful to the teeth and higher their consumption, higher the risk of enamel erosion.
- Excessive consumption of fruit juices: Citric acid is high in fruit juices, and sometimes the acids in fruit drinks can be as erosive as battery acid.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions like Acid reflux (GERD), gastrointestinal problems, and inherited genetic conditions also become the cause of enamel erosion.
- Dry mouth: Also known as xerostomia, can cause enamel erosion. This is because saliva helps wash away bacteria and harmful acids, and less saliva means less protection from tooth decay.
- Diet: A diet rich in sugar and starch can be a cause of enamel erosion as bacteria in the mouth feeds on sugary foods
How can you spot enamel erosion?
We asked our friend, Dr. Jordan Smith, a dentist in Georgetown, KY, about enamel erosion. Dr. Smith says it is imperative to identify and treat enamel erosion early on, and here are some indicators:
- Yellow teeth: This shows that your enamel has become so thin that now you dentin (inner layer of the tooth) is visible, as yellow is the color of the dentin.
- Sensitivity: If consuming hot and cold foods hurt your teeth, it means that your gum line has been exposed to air, and it is an indicator of enamel erosion.
- Tooth fracturing: weaker enamel means weaker teeth, which increases the chances of cracks and fractures.
- Spots: White spots indicate demineralization, and dark spots could be showing the presence of a cavity.
How to treat enamel loss?
The treatment of enamel loss depends on the problem and its severity. There are several options available when it comes to the treatment of enamel loss to restore its function. In less severe cases, tooth bonding can be used to protect the tooth and improve its cosmetic appearance.
In the case of severe enamel erosion resulting in significant enamel loss, we at Shreveport’s dentist usually recommend covering the damaged tooth with a dental crown or veneer to prevent it from further decay.