Tooth Erosion: Causes and Dangers
By J. Brent Gorrell on May 30, 2013
Tooth erosion is a serious condition that can cause pain and sensitivity and is aesthetically unappealing. At Dr. J. Brent Gorrell’s cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice in Mountain View, tooth erosion treatment is available to address the symptoms of the condition and prevent further damage.
Tooth erosion is a condition that compromises the structure of a tooth due to dissolution. Acidic content can dissolve enamel and dentin, wearing the tooth down from the outside, and exposing its more vulnerable inner layers.
What Causes Tooth Erosion?
A tooth begins to erode because of exposure to acidic content. Patients consume acidic foods and drinks on a daily basis. Foods and drinks that are acidic have a pH (the scientific scale for base to acid) of 5.0 or lower. Foods and other agents that may cause a tooth to begin eroding include:
- Sports drinks
- Soft drinks
- Orange juice
- Other drinks made from fruit
- Aspirin supplements
- Iron supplements
- Vitamin C supplements
- Stomach acid
Short-term interaction with these products will not necessarily cause tooth erosion, rather long-term exposure will slowly erode the tooth enamel over time. Patients should maintain a regular hygiene plan and attend regular visits to Dr. Gorrell’s Mountain View cosmetic dentistry practice so damage from these products can be detected and treated in the earliest stages of tooth erosion.
Patients can actively avoid food and drinks that are high in acidic content or rinsing the mouth with water after consumption of acidic foods and drinks to prevent tooth erosion. They may also try other preventative measures, including decreasing force while brushing, buying a soft-bristled toothbrush, receiving fluoride treatments, and drinking milk (which neutralizes pH levels).
What Are the Dangers?
Left untreated, tooth erosion can cause the loss of an entire tooth. The progressive nature of the erosion means it will progress with repeated exposure to acid. Eroded enamel and dentin, like any other part of the tooth, will not regenerate itself.
Initially, tooth erosion damages the outside enamel of a tooth before affecting the inner dentin matter. During this stage, the tooth may become sensitive to hot and cold or feel generally painful and sore. Patients may also notice a discoloration where the erosion is occurring, because the underlying dentin, which discolors easier than the protective enamel, is exposed.
Untreated, a small hole in the enamel will lead to a hole or gap within the tooth. Once a significant part of the dentin is damaged, the whole tooth is compromised.
Patients in Mountain View can undergo tooth erosion treatment at Dr. Gorrell’s cosmetic and restorative dentistry office. Treatment may involve a simple cleaning and/or enamel treatment, or may involve the placement of a dental fillings, bonding material, or dental crown to the affected tooth. For many patients in Mountain View, dental crowns will cover and protect the natural tooth that has been damaged and worn down by erosion.
For more information on tooth erosion treatment and a confidential, informative conversation, contact the practice of Dr. J. Brent Gorrell today.
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“I moved out of the area 20 years ago and happily drive 40 miles to still see Dr. Gorrell. Best dentist ever.” Kevin B.