What Are Treatments for Tooth Erosion?
Tooth erosion occurs when teeth lose their enamel due to high-acidic food and drinks softening or wearing away this protective coat over time. Consistent consumption of acidic soft drinks, sports drinks, sodas and fruit drinks are thought to be a major contributor to erosion in the teeth of younger people. Wine, coffee and acidic beverages are also potential causes, as are acidic foods, from tomatoes to sauerkraut.
To prevent tooth erosion, minimizing acidic food and drink intake is recommended, as well as proper and diligent care of teeth to strengthen enamel and lessen exposure to consumed acidic foods and drinks (since fruit drinks can also have health benefits).
Keeping tooth erosion in check with diet and care is paramount, but what can be done to teeth that have eroded beyond the point where avoiding dietary acid can help?
Avoiding acidic foods and drinks is the number one way to prevent tooth erosion from becoming a major issue. And even if your erosion has progressed beyond that point with some of your teeth, remember you have more teeth to protect, so reduction in acidic beverage intake is still of great importance.
As there is no way to generate fresh enamel, tooth erosion must be treated by a dentist with a plan for repair. Large areas of lost enamel can be covered with a dental bond. Bonding is a plastic-type resin that is affixed to the outside of the tooth where the enamel was. Bonding is thought of as a cosmetic repair, often used for fixing cracked and chipped teeth, but a dentist can cover a worn away area of enamel with a composite to help protect the tooth. Dentists are able to match the color of your teeth, and this procedure can often be done without anesthetic. Bonding will not last as long as your original, un-eroded enamel would have, but it will serve for a period of time to protect the inner tooth, and it can be replaced as necessary.
With a crown, a heavily-eroded tooth is covered entirely with an implant tooth. The crown is molded to fit the individual tooth. Crowns can be made of porcelain, gold or other metals. Like bonding, crowns can be used for cosmetic nature, but in the case of tooth erosion, the process would be the same as for covering a tooth that has had a root canal, suffered decay or has been chipped or broken. Tooth erosion makes teeth more susceptible to cracking, so it may be through a cracked tooth that a person first realizes their problem with eroded enamel.
If you fear that tooth erosion has set in, check with your dentist to see if it is a situation that can be remedied through a fluoride treatment, diet change and improved tooth-care regimen. Your dentist will let you know how far the erosion has progressed and if it needs to be held in check through cosmetic measures. He can also give you advice for a toothbrush and brushing style that may help protect all of your teeth, whether affected by erosion or not.