Tooth erosion, the loss of tooth enamel, is something everyone is susceptible to. Tooth erosion is caused by a number of factors that can all lead to toothaches, cavities, and even tooth loss. Once enamel is damaged, it will not repair itself. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of tooth erosion and treatments to repair years of damage. Corpus Christi cosmetic dentists Charles A. Robertson and N. Perry Orchard offer a variety of treatments to restore the health of your teeth and erase the damage caused by tooth erosion.
What Causes Tooth Erosion?
Tooth erosion is the gradual wearing away of the tooth's protective outer layer, the enamel. The enamel works to shield the delicate nerves of the teeth from bacteria and infection. As the enamel erodes, cavities can form and bacteria may infiltrate the tooth to the inner nerve and pulp tissues, resulting in painful toothaches. Unfortunately, enamel does not repair itself, so once damage is done, the only option is to seek dental treatment. Prevention is key when it comes to tooth erosion. By avoiding the following causes, you can help reduce your risk of developing tooth erosion.
- Improper oral hygiene: Not practicing proper oral hygiene greatly increases the risk of tooth erosion. Brushing and flossing helps remove harmful bacteria and plaque, which can erode the teeth.
- Sugary foods and drinks: Diets high in sugar increase plaque development. Plaque is made up of bacteria, food remnants, and acids excreted by the bacteria. Diets high in sugar lead to more bacteria, which in turn increases bacterial acid production and tooth erosion.
- Acidic foods and drinks: Foods and drinks high in acid can corrode the tooth's enamel. Soft drinks are quite damaging, as they are loaded with both acid and sugar.
- Aggressive tooth brushing: Though it is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day, aggressively brushing your teeth can cause more harm than good. Brushing your teeth with too much pressure, hard bristles, or overly abrasive toothpaste can gradually wear away the enamel.
- Dry mouth: Dry mouth is another cause of tooth erosion since the body doesn't produce enough saliva to wash away food particles and neutralize acids in the mouth.
- Acid reflux: Acid reflux can be a cause of tooth erosion as it allows stomach acids to come into contact with the teeth.
- Chronic teeth grinding: Teeth grinding can wear away the enamel of the teeth through friction.
- Frequent vomiting: As with acid reflux, vomiting brings stomach acid into contact with the teeth. Frequent vomiting, as with binge drinking and bulimia, can be very damaging to the teeth.
Treating Tooth Erosion
Tooth erosion can be very damaging to oral health and dental function. Fortunately, it is treatable. There are a number of restorative dentistry treatments available to repair the damage of tooth erosion and restore your smile. Though there are many treatment options for tooth erosion, some of the most popular include:
- Tooth-colored fillings: Tooth-colored fillings can prevent further decay and restore the appearance of damaged teeth.
- Porcelain veneers: Porcelain veneers can restore the appearance of the front facing teeth, improving not only dental health but also shape, size, and color.
- Dental crowns: For teeth suffering from severe tooth erosion, porcelain crowns are a great option to restore dental appearance and structure.
- Dental implants: In some cases, tooth erosion can lead to tooth loss or tooth extraction. Dental implants can be paired with different dental restorations, like porcelain crowns, to permanently replace missing teeth.
To find out which treatments are right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation today!