As the hardest substance in your body, tooth enamel is extremely important. Similar to an eggshell, your tooth enamel protects the more fragile inner parts of your teeth — pulp and dentin. At the same time, your tooth enamel is your front line of defense against insidious tooth decay. With so much riding on the ability of your enamel to perform, learning that you are suffering enamel loss can be alarming. But it doesn’t have to be. Let’s take a closer look at the enamel, how to identify tooth enamel loss, ways you can prevent enamel loss, and solutions to treat this condition.
Enamel — The Great Protector
Your tooth enamel is tasked with protecting the sensitive, softer parts of your teeth. And to do so, the enamel is packed with vital nutrients and minerals, such as hydroxyapatite, sodium, magnesium, carbonate, and fluoride. Together, these key enamel minerals work around the clock to protect and keep your teeth looking white and bright.
Healthy enamel is translucent and can vary from light yellow to a blue-like white color or a gray color. While it’s only about 2.58 mm thick, enamel protects the inner parts of your teeth from cold, hot, and acidic foods, which can lead to painful cavities. Protecting your enamel should always be top of mind in regards to your dental routine and diet. Unlike skin or hair, your body doesn’t produce more enamel to replace it over time.
Do I Have Tooth Enamel Erosion Loss?
As with most things, there are several signs and indicators that you have tooth enamel erosion. Here are a few top signs of tooth enamel loss:
- Do you see tooth discoloration? When your enamel erodes, more dentin may be exposed. This may make your teeth appear yellow.
- Are your teeth a little sensitive? If you feel a twinge of pain when you eat sweets or hot or cold foods, you may be experiencing early signs of tooth enamel erosion.
- Do you see chips and cracks? If you have enamel erosion, your teeth may become more jagged, irregular, and rough.
- Are your teeth very sensitive and painful? Those with later-stage enamel erosion often have extremely painful jolts of pain when eating hot or cold food as well as sweets.
- Do you see shiny, smooth surfaces on your teeth? If so, this could be a sign of mineral loss, which can contribute to enamel erosion.
If you have signs of enamel erosion, your teeth may be more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. While there may be no way to regrow your enamel, several treatments are available to protect your teeth and improve your appearance.
What Are the Treatments for Enamel Loss?
The actual treatment used for your enamel loss will depend on the problem and severity. However, there are several highly-effective solutions available to help restore your confidence and protect your teeth.
- Remineralizing with fluoride treatment. Fluoride treatment can help add calcium to the surface of the impacted tooth or teeth. The fluoride can bond to the existing enamel and add strength to the surface.
- Cosmetic composite bonding. Composite bonding is also referred to as dental bonding or cosmetic bonding. With this treatment, a composite resin is bonded to the tooth enamel. This treatment is usually ideal for those areas that have significant enamel erosion.
- Cosmetic veneers. Veneers are thin shells that are carefully adhered to the front of your teeth. In addition to enamel erosion, veneers can be used to treat a number of cosmetic dentistry problems. Once applied, the veneers can give you a brighter, more youthful smile.
- Dental crowns for severe enamel erosion. Crowns are caps shaped like your real teeth that encapsulate the impacted areas. Crowns may be appropriate when significant decay or damage has occurred, and veneers may not be suitable.
How Can I Protect & Preserve My Enamel
As we previously hinted, your enamel will degrade from acids, excess sugars, and plaque bacteria, which can evolve into a cavity and tooth decay. However, there are several steps you can take to help protect your enamel as it protects your teeth. Many of these protective measures start with saliva. Typically, anything that increases saliva production will help your teeth because saliva protects enamel against enzymes and acids while restoring trace minerals to weakened teeth. A few tangible steps you can take to protect your enamel include:
- Drink green and black tea that works to fight against plaque bacteria.
- Chewing sugar-free gum can help promote the production of saliva.
- Eating foods rich in fiber, such as vegetables and fruit, can help fight decay.
- Consuming dairy products that are usually high in calcium and can help produce saliva.
- Visit your dental professional every six months for proper oral health care.
- Drink a lot of water.
- Brush your teeth two times a day for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth once daily to remove food and particles.
- Avoid highly acidic drinks that can erode enamel.
- Wear a mouthguard when you sleep to prevent grinding.
Contact Triangle Dentistry in Raleigh
At Triangle Dentistry, we have been helping Raleigh and the surrounding area smile for more than 50 years. We offer an array of family dentistry and cosmetic dentistry solutions for patients of all ages. No matter your concern or problem, we have the experience to help you find the best solution.
Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 847-6000