Dental erosion is a condition where tooth structure is lost due to corrosion, chemical reactions dissolving the hard protective coating of the teeth, known as enamel.
Common signs and symptoms of dental erosion include tooth sensitivity, tooth discoloration, tooth breakdown, thinning and transparency of the edges of the front teeth, and pitting and cupping on the chewing surfaces of back teeth.
The most common cause of dental erosion is the overabundance of acid inside of the mouth. It can be introduced externally by drinking acidic beverages such as soda and fruit juice, and can be introduced internally by medical conditions that introduce stomach acids into the mouth such as acid reflux or bulimia.
Over time, this acid dissolves enamel and exposes the softer inner layer called dentin, making the teeth weaker, more sensitive, and potentially prone to decay. In addition, once the softer dentin is exposed the pace of the wear can accelerate dramatically. This weakened structure can also increase the likelihood of severe cracks or fractures in your teeth.
Excessive tooth erosion causes many oral health complications, including discoloration, unattractive and irregular tooth levels, uncoordinated chewing movements, jagged and sharp tooth edges, tooth pain, and eventual loss of the teeth altogether.
There are preventative and corrective treatment options for patients showing signs of erosion. Treatment will vary based on the underlying cause, the severity of the erosion, and the extent of tooth damage, making it critical to work closely with your dentist to proactively treat the issue before more damage occurs.
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