Medical Arts Dentistry is here to inform you about dental erosion.
Dental Erosion: A Little Known Issue
Dental erosion is a condition that can affect people of all ages. As we get older, our teeth naturally wear down, but when this process happens too quickly or too drastically, it can cause a number of problems with our appearance, sensitivity, and function. It’s important to note that dental erosion is the loss of tooth enamel due to acid not produced by oral bacteria. Another term for this is teeth demineralization.
The outer layer of your teeth that provides protection is known as enamel. It shields the more delicate dentin beneath it. You may not be aware when your enamel begins to wear away, but there are certain signs to be aware of. If your teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, or they become hollow or have rough edges, these can be indications that your enamel is thinning. Other signs of enamel damage include yellow discoloration, transparency around the edges of your front teeth, and small dents or cracks on the surface of the teeth.
If you feel any sensitivity to hot or cold substances, have a toothache, notice discoloration in one or more teeth, see transparency in your teeth, detect cracks or dents in your teeth, or observe any changes in the appearance of your teeth, these are all signs of demineralization. To protect your smile from further harm, it is best to make an appointment with your dentist.
Causes Of Dental Erosion
Demineralization of teeth can be caused by both internal and external factors, leading to a gradual and irreversible decrease in the minerals in the teeth.
- Intrinsic erosion is due to frequent exposure to intense, frequent, and/or prolonged stomach acids that saliva cannot neutralize. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition where the contents of the stomach flow back up into the esophagus and/or mouth, which can cause heartburn and/or acid regurgitation. Vomiting excessively, such as in people with bulimia nervosa or chronic alcoholism, can also lead to the teeth being exposed to stomach acid. Pregnant women rarely experience this type of erosion.
- Extrinsic erosion happens due to external influences. This can be brought on by a range of things like diet, lifestyle, environment, and job-related dangers. Eating acidic fruits and beverages, having a dry mouth, and becoming dehydrated from strenuous physical activity can all increase the chances of erosion.
- Certain medications can lead to tooth erosion. If these substances come into direct contact with the teeth or if they are chewed for an extended duration, it can cause the enamel of the teeth to thin out. Examples of such medications include those that have high concentrations of Vitamin C and those that contain hydrochloric acid preparations.
- Additional factors: exposure to chlorinated swimming pool water can lead to dental erosion due to the presence of erosive acids. Additionally, people who work in battery plants, pickling operations, and mines may also suffer from dental erosion due to contact with acidic fumes.
Dental Erosion Can Be Treated
When dealing with dental erosion, the most significant factor to take into account is what is causing the wear-down of your teeth. If the erosion is a consequence of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), you and your primary care provider should work to minimize the symptoms. If the erosion is due to your job or environmental conditions, it may be more difficult to solve, but you can always consult your dentist for advice.
Visiting your dentist is the first step to understanding what is causing your toothache or sensitivity issues. Your dentist will evaluate the damage, identify the cause, and determine the best course of action. Treatment options may include fillings for minor enamel erosion or decay in one spot, crowns for larger areas of decay, dental bonding to protect multiple teeth, and veneers for longer-term protection of several or all teeth.
Choose Medical Arts Dentistry
At Medical Arts Dentistry, we work on creating your long-term dental care plan. If you live in the Savannah area and think that Invisalign® is your orthodontic solution, please contact Medical Arts Dentistry today. We serve patients in Garden City, Richmond Hill, and the surrounding Savannah suburbs. If you’re ready for a regular check-up and professional cleaning, or a consultation about our other cosmetic dentistry options or dental restoration treatments, call 912-355-0605 for our Savannah location and 912-921-0401 for our Georgetown location.