Is the melt erosion reversible?
Melt Erosion: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
The outer layer of your teeth is made up of enamel, a substance that protects against physical and chemical damage. Tooth enamel is very tough. In fact, it is the hardest tissue in the human body - even harder than bones.
Enamel is the first line of defense for your teeth against the many different chemicals to which they are exposed through food and body fluids. As a result, it can be prone to wear. This is known as melt erosion.
Enamel erosion can cause symptoms such as tooth staining and tenderness. Tooth enamel cannot regrow. But you can prevent erosion from getting worse with dental work and taking care of your teeth.
Symptoms of melt erosion
The symptoms of tooth enamel erosion can vary. These often include:
- increased sensitivity to taste, textures and temperature
- Cracks and chips
- Depressions known as cups on the surface of your teeth.
You can have severe enamel erosion when you are in pain, high sensitivity when exposed to cold, hot, sour and spicy foods and drinks, and discoloration in your teeth.
Over time, melt erosion can lead to the following complications:
- yellow, stained teeth
- hypersensitive teeth
- rough edges on the teeth
- shiny stains on teeth
- increased tooth decay
- gradual wear of the enamel, resulting in clear, slightly translucent teeth.
- broken teeth
Causes of Melt Erosion
One of the main causes of melt erosion is acids found in the foods and liquids you consume. Saliva is constantly neutralizing the acid in the mouth to protect the teeth. But if you eat too much acidic foods and drinks and don't brush your teeth properly, the outer layer of enamel will break down over time.
Mainly, melt erosion can be caused by what you eat:
- sugary foods like ice cream, syrups, and caramel
- starchy foods such as white bread
- acidic foods like apples, citrus fruits, berries and rhubarb
- Fruit drinks and juices
- Soda, which, in addition to sugar, typically contains harmful citric and phosphoric acids.
- excess vitamin C found in citrus fruits.
Other causes of melt erosion are:
- Grinding teeth
- chronic acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- low salivation, also known as xerostomia, which is a symptom of conditions such as diabetes.
- regular use of certain medications such as antihistamines and aspirin
- Eating disorders such as bulimia, which disturbs the digestive system and exposes the teeth to stomach acid.
Can enamel grow back?
Enamel is very tough. However, it has no living cells and cannot repair itself when exposed to physical or chemical damage. This means that the enamel erosion is irreversible and the enamel does not grow back.
However, the melt erosion takes a very long time. So, even if you already have melt erosion, you can keep it from getting worse.
Treatment and prevention of melt erosion
If you've experienced severe enamel erosion, a dentist can help you with a few techniques. The first is called a tooth bond. Gluing is a process of applying a tooth-colored material known as resin to colored or damaged teeth. The resin can mask discoloration and protect your tooth. You can consider tooth bonding if the enamel erosion has caused discoloration to your front teeth.
In more severe cases, your dentist may add a veneer or crown to your damaged teeth to prevent further tooth decay.
The best way to treat melt erosion is to prevent it in the first place. Even if you already have enamel erosion, maintaining your teeth with good oral hygiene can prevent its deterioration.
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