Dental erosion is a progressive loss of tooth substances due to their exposure to acids. The causes include acidic drinks (carbonated drinks, fruit juices, sports and energy drinks, wine), certain types of food (citric fruits such as lemons and oranges), vinegar, vitamin C and more. Gastrointestinal problems such as frequent acid reflux are also one of the causes of dental erosion. People with bulimia, anorexia and pregnant women are at greater risk to have dental erosion. The first step of the treatment is to discover the reason behind the problem. The main cause needs to be removed and the lesions have to be restored.
The acids can come from both extrinsic and intrinsic sources.
The extrinsic factors all some from the outside. The most common ones are foods and drinks that contain acids. Among them, you will find bubbly drinks, drinks that contain oranges, lemons, and other citric fruits, sports drinks, wine, beer and more. When it comes to foods they include citric fruits, ketchup, vinegar, and more.
The intrinsic factors come from the inside of the body. They are either connected to a bad habit or a certain condition. People that suffer from gastric problems can have gastric reflux. In that case, the acids from the stomach comes in touch with the surfaces of teeth and causes erosion. If the reflux only happens several times, that is not a problem. But if it’s continuous and happens every day for a long period it can cause a lot of damage to teeth. Other diseases are anorexia and bulimia. These two diseases are characterized by vomiting that happens several times a day. People who suffer from anorexia or bulimia force themselves to vomit, and that content is rich in acids.
There is obvious tooth wear. Sometimes it’s only located in the enamel, but most often the dentin is also exposed. You will see eroded surfaces with yellow dentin showing. If the process is not treated it can even reach to the pulp. Sensitivity is another symptom. The teeth are very sensitive to cold and hot drinks, food and more. There might also be cracks and chips on the teeth, because of the week dental substances.
Treatment depends on the initial cause and on the stage of erosion. If the patient asks for help in the initial stage of erosion the treatment is much more effective and easier. If the patient comes when the damage is extensive the treatment is complicated. The first thing to do is to discover the cause and completely remove it. If it is connected with diet, drinks or food, the patient has to stay away from them. If it is a medical condition, it has to be treated.
If the erosion is in an initial stage the tooth can be treated with a filling. But if the condition is more advanced there will be a need for dental crowns and bridgework. In some cases, veneers can be appropriate too. The restorations will protect the teeth from additional wear. Also, they improve the appearance and get rid of the discolorations and pain.