Abrasion vs. Erosion | What is Tooth Enamel Loss?

Commonly known as the hard and outer surface layer of the teeth, tooth enamel protects the teeth against decay. Considered the hardest mineral substance in the body, it’s even stronger than bone. Despite its strength, acids from drinks and foods can pose a risk to teeth enamel. Over a long time, the acid buildup results in plaque bacteria that destroy tooth enamel.

Tooth damage is divided into two types such as abrasion and erosion. Abrasion is caused by something that rubs against the teeth. This can be brushing your teeth with a hard-bristled toothbrush, using toothpicks, or scraping your teeth when removing dentures. Erosion, on the other hand, happens when the tooth enamel is exposed to acids from sweet drinks and starch-rich foods.

Tooth enamel loss is easy to diagnose. Signs include a change in shape and color, recurring sensitivity, extreme roughness, acid reflux (heartburn), and bulimia (repeated vomiting). The good news is that tooth enamel loss can be avoided. The bad news is that once enamel loss has occurred, the enamel will never recover without a dental procedure. Studies show that consistent checkup from a reliable dentist helps to minimize the risks.

A sweet smile is beautiful, and missing enamel can enormously affect your confidence. Before your tooth enamel loss, rely on a professional physician. Dr. David Redford is the reason families choose University Dental Arts. More than his experience and knowledge, he’s friendly and approachable. He treats every client with value, making him the sought-after specialist in Cherry Creek, Denver, Lodo, and other surrounding areas.

Dangers of Tooth Erosion

There are plenty of different dental problems that our team treats on a regular basis. Some of them our patients have a generally good understanding about, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Others patients don’t have as good a handle on. That’s especially true of tooth erosion, which many patients think is the same thing as tooth decay. They’re actually quite different even if they are treated in a similar fashion.

When you visit a Denver cosmetic dentist for a consultation, you’ll be able to learn more about these matters in greater detail. For the time being we’d like to look at the basics of tooth erosion so that you have a basic grasp of this dental problem.

About Tooth Erosion

Tooth erosion refers to the gradual wearing away of tooth structure. This can occur to the outer enamel layer of the teeth or the interior dentin layer. When you stop by for a visit, a dentist serving Denver will be sure to monitor for sings of tooth erosion.

Causes of Tooth Erosion

Tooth erosion is caused by an acidic pH in the mouth. There are many different substances that can cause an acidic pH in the mouth, including:

  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Fruit juices (especially citrus)
  • Soy sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Gastric fluid/bile

The Different Between Tooth Erosion and Tooth Decay

As noted above, tooth erosion is caused by an acidic pH in the mouth. By contrast, tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth feeding on food particles, thus producing plaque. Plaque is a harmful substance that can wear away at the structure of the teeth.

While the causes of tooth erosion and tooth decay differ, they can both be treated through effective general dental care.

Aesthetic Flaws Associated with Tooth Erosion

The most notable aesthetic problem related to tooth erosion is the jagged and imperfect shape of the teeth as they are being worn down. This can also cause the teeth to become stained and discolored in the process.

Dental Health Problems Associated with Tooth Erosion

The primary dental health issue that tooth erosion causes is the weakening of a tooth due to compromised structure. When the structure of a tooth is seriously compromised, it can lead to pain, fractures, and breaks in the tooth. Only undergoing restorative dentistry treatment can help patients achieve a healthy smile again.

Treating the Effects of Tooth Erosion

Treating the adverse effects of tooth erosion means using the latest in aesthetic and rehabilitative dental care techniques. To treat varying levels of erosion, dental fillings, inlays, onlays, and Denver dental crowns may be considered. If a tooth is too severely damaged to be saved, tooth extraction may be the only solution, in which case we can recommend several options for replacing a missing tooth.

Ways to Prevent Tooth Erosion

One of the best ways to prevent tooth erosion is to use moderation when dealing with any of the acidic substances listed above. (It should be noted that in the cases of gastric fluid and bile, these are often signs of people who may suffer from bulimia or who drink in excess leading to many bouts of vomiting. In either case, these people should seek professional assistance.)

We also recommend that patients brush their teeth at least twice a day to help remove any potentially acidic substances from the mouth. Drinking water can also go a long way toward preventing dental erosion since water helps cleanse the mouth and establish a more basic pH.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatments

For more information about tooth erosion and other important dental health matters, be sure to contact our Denver cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you make good decisions about your dental health and overall well-being.