Decay and Cavities are two of the biggest dental problems people face, but tooth erosion is another serious issue that many patients don’t fully understand. Recognizing and understanding the causes and signs of tooth erosion enables patients to seek treatment early to protect their remaining tooth enamel.
Causes of tooth erosion
Many factors can lead to tooth enamel erosion such as medications and eating disorders, but the most common ones include:
- Heredity – Some patients are genetically predisposed to having thinner, weaker enamel, which leaves them vulnerable to tooth erosion.
- Acidic food and drink – Regularly consuming acidic food and drink such as citrus fruits, coffee or soda can damage your teeth and cause tooth erosion.
- Dry mouth – Patients suffering from chronic dry mouth don’t have the protection of enough saliva to maintain the natural balance in the mouth, which means sugars and acids remain and damage teeth.
Other causes of tooth erosion include acid reflux, brushing too hard, and teeth grinding.
Signs of tooth erosion
Tooth erosion involves the loss of natural tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hard, natural shell that protects the parts of the teeth including the pulp, inner dentin, and nerves from disease and damage. When natural enamel grows thinner with age, this is known as tooth erosion and recognizing the signs of this condition are essential for treatment. Signs that indicate tooth erosion include:
- Damage – When enamel erodes, your teeth are at a higher risk for cracks, cavities, decay, and chips.
- Sensitivity – The loss of enamel exposes your tooth nerves, which can increase sensitivity and cause pain when exposed to cold, hot, sour or sweet food and drink.
- Discoloration – With the erosion of the translucent tooth enamel, the dentin beneath receives exposure that can give teeth a yellow, gray or dull appearance.
Treating tooth erosion
Once you lose tooth enamel, you can’t restore it, but some treatments address the problems caused by tooth enamel erosion. When your dentist catches erosion early, they may recommend fluoridated toothpaste that prevents further damage and strengthens teeth. If tooth erosion has advanced beyond the early stages, your dentist can protect and strengthen your teeth with procedures such as inlays or onlays, dental crowns or dental bonding.
If you think you’re suffering from the early or advanced stages of tooth enamel erosion, contact Creative Dental to schedule an appointment and learn how you can protect your teeth from further damage.