Many Americans suffer from dental erosion without realizing it. Below, Hallock Family Dental will explain what dental erosion is and what treatment options are available.
Do You Have Dental Erosion?
Erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by an acid attack. Enamel is the hard layer underneath that protects the fragile dentin underneath. When tooth enamel wears away, the underlying dentin is exposed. Signs of enamel loss aren’t always obvious, but there are some signs to look out for. Once the dentin is exposed, your teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. If the surface of your teeth suddenly becomes hollowed or the edges become rough, you may be in the early stages of enamel loss. Other things to look for are:
- Discoloration in the form of yellowing
- Transparency, especially around the edges of the front teeth
- Small cracks or dents on the surface of the teeth
Causes Of Dental Erosion
Dental erosion is caused by several different factors. Some of the most common are:
- Overaggressive brushing: If you put too much pressure on your teeth while brushing, the enamel starts to weaken and can wear away in the process. Invest in a soft-bristled toothbrush or switch to an electric toothbrush, which can help you brush with just the right amount of pressure.
- Dietary acid exposure: Certain foods and drinks contain acids such as soda, desserts, and chips that can weaken and erode tooth enamel.
- Stomach acid: Heartburn or vomiting releases stomach acid, which comes in contact with the teeth. Enamel loss is associated with bulimia nervosa, chronic alcoholism, and pregnancy.
- Medicine: Taking certain medications can also cause tooth erosion. Direct exposure to these medications or prolonged chewing can cause tooth enamel to erode. Some examples are medicines high in vitamin C and medicines containing hydrochloric acid preparations.
Can You Prevent Dental Erosion?
There are some simple steps you can take to keep your teeth strong. Good oral hygiene is an essential part of keeping your smile healthy. Additionally, eating a well-balanced diet and cutting out acidic, sugary, and starchy foods can prevent enamel-damaging acids from forming in your mouth. Staying hydrated throughout the day and rinsing your mouth with water after eating acidic foods can wash away some of the harmful acids in your mouth and promote salivation. Saliva is a natural acid neutralizer that protects your teeth. However, eating acidic foods in excess can hinder saliva’s ability to help maintain good oral health.
Unfortunately, once a tooth is eroded, it cannot grow back. There are a number of things you can do to prevent it from getting worse, and there are techniques your dentist can use to treat enamel erosion. Going to the dentist regularly can help prevent dental erosion from getting worse. If your smile needs treatment the most common options include:
- Fillings for minor enamel erosion and caries usually limited to a small area
- Crowns for large carious teeth with too large a filling
- Dental bonding protects the surfaces of multiple teeth
- Veneers protect multiple or all teeth more permanently
- Root canals
- Dental Bridge or implant
At Hallock Family Dental we understand the importance of a bright and healthy smile and we are ready to help you with your dental needs. Whether you need implants or CEREC Same-day crowns or SureSmile aligners or a complete smile makeover our dentists are ready to provide you with the best treatment plan. If you are concerned that you may have enamel erosion, please visit one of our locations or call our Allen location at 972-390-7200 or our McKinney location at 972-547-1775. Our dentists will be able to develop a treatment plan that works for you.