Your tooth enamel is the hard, visible shell on your teeth. While you see your enamel each time you smile, you may not know that much about it.
Don’t worry, this is completely normal. Enamel is a mineralized substance that has an important role in protecting teeth from damage and decay.
While it is strong and can stand up to many substances, even with proper care, damage can occur. Keep reading to learn more about this substance, along with signs of tooth enamel erosion and what to do if it occurs.
What Is Enamel?
Enamel is the first line of defense your teeth have against the chemicals they are exposed to. This includes everything from body fluids to food and more. Because so many different substances bombard the enamel, it can experience wear and tear, which is called enamel erosion.
Some people believe that enamel is responsible for the color of your teeth. While it can vary in color from light yellow to grayish white, it is also semi-translucent. This means it is only partly responsible for your teeth’s color.
What Is Enamel Erosion?
There are several reasons that enamel erosion may occur. Some of the most common causes include the use of some medications, low salivary flow, chronic acid reflux, teeth grinding, and more.
What you eat and drink may also impact your enamel and the presence of enamel erosion. For example, acidic and sugary foods may cause enamel erosion.
While a Boise Family Dentist can let you know if you are dealing with enamel erosion, it is also a good idea to get to know some of the signs of this condition. Keep reading to learn what some of the most common signs of enamel erosion are.
Increased Tooth Sensitivity
Have you noticed increased sensitivity in your teeth? If so, the cause may be enamel erosion.
In fact, increased tooth sensitivity is one of the most common indications of enamel loss. It occurs when the protective coating of your tooth is worn away. When this happens, the more sensitive and softer dentin layer is exposed.
Your teeth may become sensitive if you consume extremely cold or hot beverages or foods when you brush your teeth or if your gums are exposed to air.
Appearance of Dents
Are there dents on the surface of your teeth? If so, these can get worse as time passes.
The official name of dents on your teeth is cupping. These are essentially indentations or pits on the surface of the teeth. They can occur when acids in your mouth wear the dentin and enamel away.
If cupping occurs, it will increase the risk of additional damage. Failure to treat this problem may cause cracks, chips, or scratches in your teeth.
Rough or Rounded Edges
The outside edges of your teeth are considered most at risk for cases of acid erosion. This is because they are the weakest and will take most of the damage.
As enamel keeps wearing down, the edges of your teeth may not remain smooth. Instead, they may begin to take on a rough and rounded appearance. If this issue is not treated, it may lead to chips or cracks in your teeth.
Discolored or Stained Teeth
If an excessive amount of enamel is worn from your teeth, then the yellow-colored dentin layer may become visible. This can create a yellowish or stained appearance.
This is different from the yellow stains that may appear on the surface of your tooth because of eating certain foods or smoking. Along with appearing more yellow, the teeth can appear dull, translucent, and may lose their natural shine.
Tooth Fracturing or Decay
Tooth decay will break down the outermost layer of enamel. As this happens, your tooth becomes weaker and weaker.
Decay is essentially cavities. Cavities are holes in your tooth. Some only go through your enamel, while others can reach the dentin and beyond.
Many things can cause cavities. This includes not cleaning your teeth properly, drinking sugary beverages, too many bacteria in your mouth, and frequent snacking.
As you enamel is left untreated, it will get weaker. This can also cause the whole tooth to suffer. As the condition worsens, the tooth structure can break down, become weak, and cause fractures.
Treatment and Prevention for Enamel Erosion
If you are dealing with enamel erosion, you should go to your dentist. They can provide several treatment options.
One is tooth bonding. This is when the resin is applied to your damaged or stained teeth. Resin can be used to cover discolorations and provide additional protection for your tooth.
Bonding is a smart move if the enamel erosion has resulted in discolorations on your front, visible teeth.
In some severe situations, your dentist may add a crown or veneer to the teeth that are damaged. This can help prevent even more decay.
While it is possible to treat enamel erosion, it is always better to prevent it, if possible. You can keep this from getting worse by engaging in good oral hygiene.
Dealing with Tooth Enamel Erosion
Tooth enamel erosion is more common than some people realize. While this is true, there are still ways to treat and prevent it.
The information here should help you better understand this condition and what you can do to protect your teeth.
Additional information can be found through some of our other blogs. Be sure to check back often as we are constantly posting new information on our site.
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