Tooth erosion is the dissolution of dental hard tissue by intrinsic or extrinsic acid and/or calcium chelating agents that are not produced within the oral cavity. Erosion is a chemical process, different from tooth wear which is a physical process.
Some of the factors that can cause the loss of enamel and expose your teeth to risks are:
- medicines and food supplements (acetylsalicylic acid, iron supplements)
- stomach acid (for example, due to heartburn, chronic vomiting, alcoholism)
- lack of saliva
- acidic drinks (soft drinks, juice, wine, etc.)
- acidic foods (fruits, vinegar, etc.)
Our patient, Ms E., is 37 years old and has been drinking lemon juice every morning for several years. Over time, she has experienced some discolorations of her teeth, especially the front teeth, and an increase sensitivity with many different stimuli such as air, sugar, water, cold etc.
The enamel loss caused by the acidity of the lemon started to be visible in the dentin layer. It is this dentin that gives the yellow shade to the teeth, whereas the enamel gives the whiteness.
In agreement with the patient, we decided to protect the 6 upper front teeth (canines and incisors) with ceramic veneers. We wanted to be as conservative as possible using a minimally invasive approach.
After the 6 veneers were fitted, the sensitivity disappeared instantly. We also matched the original color of the teeth as well as the original shape, with some improvements regarding the proportions.
Those 6 teeth are now protected from any future erosion on the buccal surfaces as the ceramic will not dissolute as the enamel is.
How to avoid tooth erosion?
We recommend that you:
- Avoid direct contact with acidic foods. Foods with a high calcium or phosphate content can help fight enamel erosion.
- A lack of salivation often causes enamel degradation as saliva has a buffer function and helps protect against erosion. Stimulate your secretion of saliva by drinking plenty of sugar-free, low-acid liquids such as water or unsweetened herbal teas throughout the day.
- Use dental care products that gently and deeply clean your teeth and protect them against enamel loss.