Treating Tooth Erosion
Tooth Erosion: Everything You Need to Know to Protect Your Teeth
Enamel loss is one of the dental health problems that creep up on you slowly, and you only get to realize the extent of the damage when it is almost too late to salvage the situation. This article discusses the causes, signs, and prevention of tooth enamel erosion.
A Primer on Tooth Enamel
The outermost layer of your teeth is made out of enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance in your body, and it helps to protect the inner layers of your teeth from damage by external factors, such as acid. Enamel is a few millimeters thick, and its color varies from bluish, grayish, yellow or white. Dr. Ben Kacos, Shreveport’s dentist, warns that you can never regain the enamel on your teeth once it is lost.
Causes of Enamel Loss
- Acid Damage: The biggest enemy of tooth enamel is acid. This acid comes from different sources, such as the food and drinks we consume, as well as any acidic medication (antihistamines and aspirin) that you take. Acid reflux and other related gastrointestinal problems can also expose your teeth to acids that gradually erode the enamel. Sugary drinks, especially soda, are one of the biggest culprits when the triggers of enamel loss are listed, so be mindful each time you open a can of soda.
- Teeth Grinding: People who suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding) are also prone to tooth erosion. This is because the surfaces of their teeth are subjected to higher levels of stress. In fact, Dr. Ben Kacos says that uneven enamel loss is one of the signs that often leads dental professionals to suspect that someone may be suffering from bruxism.
- Dry Mouth: Dry mouth is another factor that can result in enamel erosion. This is because the mouth is no longer able to rinse itself periodically as is the case for people with normal saliva production. Consequently, the acid produced by oral bacteria stays longer in the mouth and damages your teeth.
- Improper Brushing Techniques: Shreveport’s dentist reveals that many people unwittingly contribute to the erosion of their teeth through the use of improper brushing techniques. For example, individuals who use a lot of force when brushing end up damaging the teeth and gums in the long run. Similarly, brushing too soon (less than 30 minutes) after consuming an acidic meal or drink can also erode the teeth because the acids will be brushed against the enamel.
- Genetic and Other Non-Preventable Factors: Some causes of tooth erosion cannot be prevented. For example, some babies may be born with an inability to form strong teeth as a result of the diet or other health complications.
Drinks and Foods That Lead to Tooth Erosion
It is worth repeating that soda is one of the worst offenders when it comes to enamel erosion. The sugar in this sweet drink results in the rapid multiplication of oral bacteria, with the result that your tooth will soon erode. Citrus fruits, starchy foods, fruit juice, flavored water, and sugary snacks are all things to watch for if you don’t want your teeth to erode. Avoid these foods and drinks or consume them in moderation if you wish to safeguard your teeth from erosion.
Signs and Symptoms of Enamel Erosion
- Tooth Sensitivity: We asked our friend, Dr. Fardi Farhat, a dentist in Sterling Heights, MI about tooth erosion. Dr. Farhat says that tooth sensitivity is one of the top signs of tooth erosion. He says, “Your teeth are likely to become sensitive once the enamel on them is eroded. This sensitivity develops because the softer dentine inside your teeth will be exposed to environmental conditions, such as hot or cold foods and drinks. You will, therefore, feel pain because the nerves in the dentine will be irritated by the hot or cold things you eat, or even the wind blowing against your teeth.”
- Discolored Teeth: Dr. Ben Kacos explains that another indicator that your teeth are eroding is teeth discoloration. You see, the dentine in your teeth is yellow. Consequently, you may think that your teeth are becoming discolored if the enamel on the surface of those teeth wears off and the dentine underneath comes closer to the surface of the teeth.
- Transparent Teeth: Eroded teeth may also become transparent or translucent. This is because the reduction in the thickness of your teeth makes it easier for light to penetrate them. Such teeth may also look dull since the shiny element (the enamel) has been eroded.
- Tooth Fracturing: You can suspect that your teeth are eroding if they start fracturing for no reason. For example, you may notice a crack in your teeth after eating nuts. Eroded teeth also have uneven edges, so you should look for these as well when your teeth fracture unexpectedly.
Treating Teeth Erosion
As already mentioned, enamel loss is irreversible. However, there are some interventions that can be taken to protect the teeth and prevent further erosion. These include the following;
- Dental Bonding: This option can only be considered for you if minimal tooth erosion has taken place. Dr. Ben Kacos, a dentist in Shreveport, LA will examine you and confirm that you are a suitable candidate for dental bonding. The process entails placing a thin resin on the eroded tooth so that the resin bonds with the tooth and protects it from further damage. The treatment process requires less than an hour to complete, so you can finish the entire procedure in just a single dental visit.
- Dental Crowns: More severe cases of enamel loss are treated using dental crowns. A dental crown covers the entire tooth and allows you to continue using the eroded teeth normally without any pain or risk of additional damage.
Dr. Ben Kacos can give you more information about your specific enamel erosion, so schedule a consultation if you think you have enamel erosion. One mistake you should avoid making is postponing treatment for your eroded teeth since this may increase the risk of tooth loss and the associated costs that come with fixing such problems.