If your dentist suspects enamel erosion, buckle up and listen. Enamel is the durable, calcified tissue used for covering your teeth’s crown. It essentially acts as a shield against what you put in your mouth to safeguard your teeth from cavities. Your enamel is likewise the white component of the teeth, and when it erodes, you’ll see the underlying dentin that’s more yellowish in color. This is something that no whitening treatment can really fix.
How Enamel Erosion Occurs
Enamel offers an extremely tough buffer for the teeth. However, it has a huge weakness, its pH level. Your enamel consists of carbonated calcium hydroxyapatite, which has a pH level of about 5.5. Saliva functions to neutralize acids inside the mouth, maintain its pH level, and help replenish calcium ions and phosphate that degrade to help keep the enamel’s integrity. If saliva fails to keep up and neutralize acids, erosion could occur.
Unfortunately, when you consult an endodontist in Lone Tree, you’ll find that once your enamel has worn out, you can’t rebuild it because the enamel doesn’t contain any living cells, it won’t be able to heal or regenerate itself. Once this occurs, the nerves located in your teeth’s centermost portion will be exposed and vulnerable to cold and hot temperatures and become more sensitive.
Left unaddressed, this could lead to extreme sensitivity, cavities, or worse, tooth loss. Keep in mind though that some degree of erosion is just a part of the natural aging process. Think about it, you use your teeth for chewing, drinking, and eating, which result in your enamel wearing away over time.
Diet, Health Conditions, and Enamel Erosion
More often than not, enamel erosion is a result of a diet consisting of tons of acidic and sugary drinks such as sports drinks, sodas and can you believe, sweet tea, which actually has more sugar and more acidic. These acids could easily break down enamel, while the sugar causes the eventual formation of cavities.
In some individuals, enamel erosion is due to acid reflux and frequent vomiting, as these repeatedly expose your teeth to acids from the stomach and result in wearing away the enamel. Additionally, grinding could likewise physically break down your enamel.
Can You Stop Enamel Erosion?
Fortunately yes, depending on the severity of the erosion. The minute you feel warning signs of enamel erosion, such as sensitivity to cold or hot drinks or foods and discoloration, go to your dentist right away. Although nothing can replace enamel that has worn away, making specific lifestyle changes like changing your diet, and certain dental procedures and products that can prevent it from further breakdown.
For example, you might need to use mouthwash with fluoride or wear a mouth guard if you grind your teeth in your sleep. If your teeth are significantly discolored or sensitive due to enamel erosion, you can opt for cosmetic products such as crowns and veneers. If you lost enamel at the gum line, your dentist could put fillings to cover them up. Only your dentist can determine the most appropriate treatment options based on your specific case.