What Happens When Tooth Enamel Wears Away?

7 Oct 2020 by  admin in General Dentistry Resources

Tooth enamel is an integral part of your teeth. It is the thin outer layer that protects your tooth’s root and is the part that we see– it’s the part that bites, chews, and shines when you smile.

Enamel is very tough; in fact, it’s the strongest tissue in the human body. However, it can be damaged. Various types of food and drink can stain it. Coffee, red wine, tea, dark sodas, and smoking can all cause discoloration. More seriously, they can also cause decay.

What Causes Enamel Wear?

Enamel loss happens when the acids and bacteria from certain foods are left sitting on your teeth’s surface. Sugar and starches can create bacteria that harm tooth enamel. Acids from coffee and fruit can also contribute to the loss.

Enamel can also be lost through injury to the tooth. Biting onto something hard can crack enamel, and clenching or grinding teeth can break the surface– potentially causing a fissure in the protective layering, allowing the acids and bacteria to attack the tooth rapidly.

Why Enamel is So Important

Enamel covers the more sensitive, inner layer of the tooth called the dentin. Beneath that are the nerves and blood vessels. Cracked or damaged enamel can be extremely painful. This can cause excessive tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease. If untreated, a loss of enamel almost guarantees a loss of teeth. It also means living with a painful, sensitive mouth.

Your tooth enamel can provide life-long protection, as long as you take good care of it. Unfortunately, the body cannot replenish this enamel itself, so it’s imperative to see a dentist if you fear enamel loss.

What Can Dentists Do for Enamel Loss?

There are three main ways that dentists can fix enamel loss. These include dental bonding, veneers, and crowns.

  1. Dental bonding involves the application of materials, like porcelain and resins, to patch chipped teeth. This is an affordable procedure that is also relatively quick. The porcelain can be altered to match the color of surrounding teeth, making for a very natural fix. This procedure is best used to fix one or two slightly damaged teeth.
  2. Veneers are the next step up from dental bonds. Like bonds, they involve fusing a piece of porcelain to the front of your tooth. Veneers are a desirable solution to enamel loss, though they cost more than dental bonds.
  3. Crowns are the fix for severe enamel loss. Like veneers, crowns are molded porcelain pieces created by dental technicians. These pieces are then fused onto your tooth to act as a replacement for lost enamel. Veneers are applied to just the front of your teeth, while crowns cover the entire tooth.

Worried You Have Enamel Loss?

If enamel loss is affecting you, contact us at Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry for a one-on-one consultation. Our offices are open, and we’ve implemented stringent sanitation protocols. We’re happy to discuss your cosmetic dental options for enamel repair.

Additional Resources:

  1. My Penn Dentist, Repair Tooth Enamel, https://mypenndentist.org/2018/07/18/repair-tooth-enamel/
  2. 123 Dentist, Enamel loss: What it is and how to fix it,https://www.123dentist.com/enamel-loss-what-it-is-and-how-to-fix-it/
  3. Web MD, Tooth Enamel Erosion and Restoration, https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tooth-enamel-erosion-restoration#1




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