Our teeth endure a lot of force and pressure throughout our lifetimes. Fortunately, tooth enamel, the protective barrier around our teeth, helps protect against damage and decay. Tooth enamel is a mineralized structure around teeth and while it is strong and durable, it can be damaged. When tooth enamel is damaged permanently, our dentist may need to apply dental restorations or administer preventive treatments. Following are some tips for protecting tooth enamel and the treatment options available for restoring damaged teeth.
Preventing Damage to Tooth Enamel
Tooth enamel is made up of minerals such as calcium. The minerals that make up tooth enamel can be stripped away by acidic particles found in many common foods and beverages. Acid can erode minerals in tooth enamel, and with repeated exposure to strong acid, patients can develop permanently weakened tooth enamel. Whenever possible, it is best to avoid acidic foods and beverages like citrus, tea, and sodas. In addition to avoiding acid, patients should properly brush their teeth with fluoridated toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval. Fluoride will help replenish lost minerals in tooth enamel. If necessary, our dentist may recommend fluoride mouth rinses, which may be purchased over the counter or from a pharmacy with a prescription.
Treating Damaged Teeth
If teeth show signs of enamel wear, our team may recommend preventive treatments such as in-office fluoride application that involves placing a prescription-strength foam or varnish over the teeth. Another preventive option is the application of a dental sealant, which can prevent the development of tooth decay on the biting surfaces of weakened teeth.
When permanent damage is present and the structures beneath tooth enamel are exposed to oral bacteria and debris, restorations might be necessary. Restorations harden weakened tooth structure with decay-resistant materials such as composite resin, metal, or porcelain. A restoration can also rebuild tooth structure to its rightful size and shape.
If you have been told you have signs of enamel damage or have symptoms such as toothaches, we recommend visiting our practice for a checkup. Call us today to reserve an appointment with our caring and professional doctors.