Dental erosion of the enamel is the deterioration of tooth enamel due to acids destroying it. When the dental enamel wears away, it can cause tooth pain and sensitivity as the enamel thins out or when the second layer called dentin, which is more porous, becomes exposed. Erosion, if left unchecked, can continue on into the dentin.
At our office in Pleasanton, California, Dr. Wang can identify early signs of enamel erosion and provide efficient tooth strengthening (re-densifying) and restoration procedures.
Signs of Teeth Erosion
Enamel erosion may appear as wear or hollow areas (ditching out) with darker areas below the natural tooth contour. When your tooth enamel starts eroding, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Tooth sensitivity while eating or drinking hot or cold foods and beverages
- Exposed dentin presents as brownish or yellow-brown coloration on the tooth
- Ditched out area of the tooth especially along the biting edge
If enamel erosion on the sides of teeth is allowed to progress, it may cause severe gum recession and even lead to tooth loss.
What Causes Tooth Erosion?
Tooth erosion can occur due to the following reasons:
- Excessive consumption of soft drinks: Carbonated drinks expose the teeth to acidstand lead to enamel erosion.
- Consumption of citrus fruit and juices: The high acidity of citrus fruits and juices can attack the tooth enamel.
- Dry mouth or low saliva flow: Certain medications or ailments can cause dry mouth or a reduction in saliva flow that exposes teeth to enamel erosion.
- A diet high in starch and sugar: Starchy or sugary foods can encourage acid formation in the mouth.
- Acid reflux disease: This condition, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, can dissolve the dental enamel by increasing the acid levels in the mouth, exposing teeth to damage, decay, and discoloration.
- Medications: Certain medications like aspirin, antihistamines, and vitamin C tablets can lead to enamel erosion.
- Genetics: Some people have a genetic predisposition to weak tooth enamel that is less resistant to acid damage.
- Pregnancy, alcoholism, and eating disorders: Any condition that induces regular vomiting, like pregnancy-related morning sickness, alcoholism, anorexia, or bulimia, can cause tooth enamel erosion.
What Causes Enamel Wear?
Enamel can also wear down due to other reasons such as:
- Bruxism: Bruxism or teeth grinding can lead to dental enamel wear.
- Abrasion: Enamel wear can happen as a result of abrasion which is the wear produced by an interaction between teeth and other objects. This happens due to hard brushing, improper flossing, or a diet of hard nuts that can cause a milling action to the teeth as one chews.
How to Control Enamel Erosion?
Dr. Wang provides several treatments that restore the eroded areas of the teeth, decrease sensitivity, and give you a better and healthier smile. These treatments include:
- Dental bonding that protects the teeth from further enamel erosion, restores the structure of damaged teeth, and eliminates discoloration
- Fluoride treatments and desensitizing toothpaste for early stages of the condition
- Dental crowns for patients with significant enamel erosion