What is Dental Erosion?

Dental Erosion

What Is Dental Erosion?

Dental erosion can occur to anyone in any age group. Tooth wear and tear is a normal process that occurs as people age, but is severe when the degree of destruction is excessive or the rate of loss is rapid. Dental erosion can cause functional, aesthetic, and sensitivity problems. The process of dental erosion is defined as the chemical loss of mineralized tooth substance caused by exposure to acids not derived from oral bacteria. Another term for dental erosion is teeth demineralization. 

What Are The Causes Of Teeth Erosion? 

Teeth demineralization results in gradual and irreversible loss of tooth mineral substance, and can be caused by intrinsic and/or extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are those related to acid reflux and excessive vomiting. Extrinsic dietary factors deal with a person’s diet. Here are some examples of these causes: 

Intrinsic Erosion: 

  • This type of erosion results from the frequent introduction of gastric acids into the teeth at a consistency, duration, and/or intensity that is higher than the saliva’s ability to break it down for an extended period of time. 

  • Stomach acid may reach the teeth in cases of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a popular condition in which gastric contents reflux back up into the esophagus and/or the mouth. Two common symptoms of GERD are heartburn and/or acid regurgitation.

  • Other erosive challenges from gastric acid occur from excessive vomiting, such as in people who have bulimia nervosa or chronic alcoholism. Rarely does it affect women who are pregnant.

Extrinsic Erosion: 

  • Erosion due to extrinsic factors may arise from a sequence of dietary, lifestyle, environmental or occupational factors that expose teeth to high levels of acid. 

  • Constant consumption of highly acidic fruit and sports drinks, in combination with a dry mouth and dehydration from athletic or extreme exercises, may increase erosion risk.

Other Factors:

  • Environmental and occupational factors: Possible sources of erosive acids include exposure to chlorinated swimming pool water. Swimmers commonly are treated for dental erosion. Erosion has been seen in battery plant workers, picklers, and miners who are around the fumes which are acidic.

What Are The Common Symptoms of Teeth Erosion? 

Dental erosion can be understood as physical damage to teeth but is usually first felt in the form of a toothache or sensitivity to high or low-temperature foods or drinks. The most frequent symptoms of dental erosion include:

  • Tooth pain and sensitivity

  • Discoloration in the form of yellowing

  • Transparency of teeth

  • Small cracks or dents on the surface of the teeth

  • Changes in the appearance of teeth

What Are Treatment Options Available For Dental Erosion?

Treatment of existing teeth erosion varies, depending on the cause. For example, if your teeth demineralization is caused by GERD, then it is important you seek medical attention for these symptoms. When it comes to dental care, normally a patient will schedule an appointment with their dentist for a toothache or a chipped tooth. The dentist will evaluate the extent of the damage, determine a possible cause, and how to address the damage and decay that is present.

Treatment options include:

  • Fillings for minor enamel erosion and decay, often localized in one small area.

  • Crowns for major decay in areas too large for a filling.

  • Veneers for more permanent protection of multiple or all teeth.

The best way to prevent any serious dental or oral health issues is by visiting your dentist twice a year for regular cleaning and check-ups. If you are concerned about a toothache, worried about potential symptoms of dental erosion, or searching for a family or cosmetic dentist in Tallmadge, OH, consider Sisko Dentistry. Dr. Gerald Sisko has 30 years of experience, and together, the Sisko Dentistry team has 225+ years of experience to offer. Call 330-633-9510 to schedule an appointment today.


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