Tooth Enamel Loss and its Risks

Tooth Enamel Loss and its Risks

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

The outermost layer of your teeth is the enamel, and it’s the hardest substance in your body. The enamel protects the dentin, where millions of tiny tubes lead directly to the innermost soft pulp of a tooth, where the blood vessels and nerves are located. The loss of enamel on a tooth is known as tooth erosion. Tooth erosion starts in the enamel. Left untreated, it affects the dentin and by the time it reaches the pulp, the tooth likely will require a root canal or may even require extraction. The easiest way to protect your teeth is to protect the enamel, otherwise you are putting your oral health at risk. Here’s more about the risks of tooth enamel loss.

Dangers of Tooth Erosion

Tooth erosion weakens the teeth, making them susceptible to sensitivity, decay, infection and disease. Eventually, it could lead to the loss of the tooth. While there are treatments for tooth erosion, once the enamel is gone, it can’t grow back or regenerate. Regular oral care like conscientious brushing and flossing at least twice a day can delay its progression. The wearing down or thinning of tooth enamel can result in sensitivity to cold and hot, not to mention dental pain, toothaches and difficulty chewing. Tooth fractures are a very common result of tooth erosion and can lead to the loss of the teeth.

Causes of Tooth Erosion

Sugary foods and drinks cause plaque, which is a primary cause of tooth erosion. Poor oral hygiene – to include not brushing enough to brushing too aggressively – can also wear down tooth enamel. Bruxism – grinding your teeth as you sleep – also contributes to tooth erosion as does chewing on hard substances. Those who are bulimic or use vomiting to control or “make” weight, run a high risk of experiencing tooth erosion, as stomach acids can quickly wear down the enamel on back teeth, just as acid reflux will. Acidic foods and beverages also must be monitored for the effects they have on teeth.

Treatments to Fight Erosion

If erosion has reached the point where medical intervention is required, a dentist may offer bonding to reinforce the enamel. The dentist will use a tooth-colored putty-like resin to re-layer and sculpt a new tooth; the resin hardens when exposed to a special light. Bonding is commonly done for front teeth that exhibit stains, decay or erosion. A sealant can be applied by a dentist as a protective barrier to protect the remaining enamel from decaying anymore. If a tooth shows extensive decay and needs protection all over, a dentist may choose to cover it with a crown.

Expert Dental Care in the Twin Cities

Maintaining good oral health care is vital to your overall health. Don’t endanger your smile, get regular checkups and care for your teeth properly. If you live in the Twin Cities area, contact the professionals at Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. We offer the most comprehensive care available – to include cosmetic and restorative dentistry – to ensure a lifetime of smiles. Click here to securely schedule your appointment online, or call us at (651) 646-2392.