Enamel – the thin, clear outer covering of your teeth – is responsible for protecting your teeth from daily use, including chewing, biting and grinding. It also provides insulation so eating hot and cold food doesn’t cause pain. Enamel is translucent so you can see the dentin underneath, which is what determines the color of your teeth.
Even though enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it can still become worn and chipped away, a process called enamel erosion. Unlike a broken bone that can heal itself, enamel has no living cells, meaning once the damage is done, it’s permanent. This might leave you wondering: what options do you have if your enamel is worn or missing?
Identify if Your Enamel is Eroded
Worn and missing enamel leaves your teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay. Small cavities are no big deal, but if left to grow and fester, they can lead to infections such as painful tooth abscesses. Worn enamel also impacts the appearance of your smile.
Before you start worrying about what to do about worn and missing enamel, first determine whether you have this problem. Look for the following signs:
- Tooth sensitivity: As the insulating layer of enamel erodes away, your teeth may become more sensitive to hot, cold and even sweet food. A twinge of pain when eating these foods is an early warning sign of worn enamel. More severe pain is a sign of significant enamel loss.
- Discolored teeth: Eroding enamel exposes the dentin beneath, which is more likely to result in yellow, stained teeth.
- Cracked and chipped teeth: The edges of your teeth become more jagged or rough as enamel continues to wear away. Indentations may even begin to appear on the surface of your teeth.
Treat Worn and Missing Enamel
Thanks to cosmetic dentistry available at Evanson DDS, you can restore the appearance of eroded teeth with two primary options:
- Dental bonding: This procedure involves having a tooth-colored material applied to your teeth. This material hardens under a special light so it bonds permanently to your natural teeth. Dr. Evanson uses a mixture of quartz and resin in dental bonding procedures to give your teeth a sparkling white finish you can be proud of.
- Dental crowns: If tooth enamel is severely eroded, Dr. Evanson may recommend covering your affected teeth with crowns. The most important function of a dental crown is to increase the strength and functionality of a damaged tooth. It also improves the appearance of your smile and can help you feel confident after your teeth have suffered from enamel erosion.
Take Other Steps to Reduce Enamel Erosion
As you pursue treatments for worn and missing enamel, take efforts to prevent further enamel loss:
- Visit Dr. Evanson every six months for an oral exam, cleaning and x-ray. By keeping up with preventative dentistry, you avoid dental problems, catch issues early and receive personalized advice about how to keep your smile healthy.
- Eliminate highly acidic drinks from your diet, including carbonated drinks, juice and wine. If you can’t resist having one of these acidic beverages every now and then, drink them through a straw to reduce contact with your teeth.
- Chew sugar-free gum between meals. Gum with xylitol is especially beneficial since this substance is known to reduce acids and bacteria living in your mouth.
- Drink more water throughout the day to help clear out bacteria.
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste, which is known to strengthen enamel.
- Wear a mouth guard when you sleep to prevent you from grinding your teeth and wearing away the enamel.
If you want to treat your worn and missing enamel, or you need help implementing tips to avoid future enamel erosion, please contact Evanson DDS online or call us at (720) 409-0008.Leave a reply →