The teeth are surrounded by a hard layer of enamel that protects them from daily wear and tear. However, although enamel is strong, it can be damaged. As enamel is broken down, the inner layer of the teeth becomes vulnerable and the risk of serious dental complications increases. Restorative dentistry treatments can address enamel erosion to protect the teeth from oral health problems. At Bell Dental, our team of experienced dentists is happy to discuss tooth erosion causes and treatments with our Lake Jackson, TX patients, as well as create a custom treatment plant that will address their unique oral health needs.
Causes of Tooth Erosion
There are many factors that can cause structural damage to the teeth, but the two most common are decay and erosion. Most people are very familiar with tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by a buildup of bacteria, which leads to the development of plaque and tartar. The most common result of tooth decay is a dental cavity, something most patients have dealt with at least once in their life. Tooth erosion also breaks down and destroys healthy tooth enamel. However, the causes of tooth erosion differ from the causes of decay.
Tooth erosion is related to the pH balance of a person’s mouth. When the mouth becomes highly acidic, the acids can damage tooth enamel and gradually wear down the outer layer of a patient’s tooth. Below are some of the most common causes of tooth erosion:
- Excessive consumption of wine, soft drinks, fruit juices, coffee, or other beverages that are highly acidic
- A diet that is high in sugars and starches
- The use of certain medications, such as aspirin and antihistamines
- Acid reflux, gastrointestinal problems, or eating disorders, all of which can frequently introduce stomach acids to the mouth
- Dry mouth
Treating Tooth Erosion
If tooth enamel becomes damaged, it needs to be repaired to protect the sensitive inner layer of the tooth, and prevent infection or other dental complications. Below are some of the restorative treatment options that can restore a tooth that has been worn down by tooth erosion:
- Dental bonding: For very minor cases of tooth erosion, dental bonding may be appropriate. During dental bonding treatment, a tooth-colored compound is applied to the tooth to cover and protect areas of enamel that have become worn down. Dental bonding is a fast and affordable way to provide the teeth with an added layer of protection.
- Dental fillings: Although fillings are traditionally a treatment for dental cavities, they can treat areas of erosion as well. If tooth erosion has led to significant holes in the outer layer of enamel, then a filling can be placed to protect the damaged tooth from further complications.
- Inlays and onlays: Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that are bonded to a tooth that has significant structural damage. These restorations are not as large as a dental crown, but they offer more extensive treatment than a filling. If tooth erosion has damaged enamel on the biting surface of the teeth or on the cusps of the teeth, an inlay or onlay is likely the most appropriate treatment option.
- Dental crowns: A dental crown is a treatment option available to those with extensive structural damage due to tooth erosion. A dental crown sits over the tooth like a cap and offers it a layer of protection on all sides. Dental crowns essentially rebuild the outer layer of a tooth while allowing patients to preserve the natural tooth nerves and roots.
At Bell Dental, our experienced team of dentists is dedicated to helping patients enjoy a smile that is equally healthy and beautiful. Whether you are in need of restorative dental care or are simply looking to enhance the beauty of your smile, we can help. Contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about our comprehensive range of dental services.