FAQ: Tooth Enamel

General dentist Dr. Bruce Spink of Spink Dentistry is dedicated to helping patients achieve a healthy, functional smile. Dr. Spink aims to provide compassionate; patient focused dental care in his Birmingham dental office. Part of patient focused dental care is patient education, which equips patients with the tools they need to care for their teeth out of office. At Spink Dentistry, we have answered a few questions about tooth enamel and how to avoid the development of tooth enamel erosion.

What is tooth enamel?

Tooth enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth. It is the hardest, densest layer of the tooth that protects the inner most layer from acid, plaque, and food and beverages that are too hot or too cold. Enamel can not be naturally restored if it is damaged, so it is important to keep it protected.

What causes tooth enamel erosion?

Tooth enamel erosion is the breakdown of your tooth enamel. Tooth enamel erosion can be caused by:

  • Excessive amounts of citric acid
  • Sugary drinks and beverages consumption
  • Certain medications
  • Lack of saliva
  • Acid reflux
  • Teeth grinding
  • Abrasion

What are the signs of tooth enamel erosion?

The signs of enamel erosion are dependent on a number of different factors. If you are experiencing any of these signs, it is important to visit Dr. Spink so that he can properly examine your teeth and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

  • Tooth Sensitivity: Tooth sensitivity can be triggered by the temperature of certain foods and drinks or sweets.
  • Chipped or cracked teeth:  The breakdown of tooth enamel can weaken the tooth as a whole and lead to chips or cracks in the teeth.
  • Tooth discoloration: As the enamel weakens, it can cause the teeth to yellow or appear spotty and discolored.

How to prevent tooth enamel erosion?

Tooth enamel erosion can leave the teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. It is important to practice preventative measures to prevent enamel erosion.

  • Minimize the amount of acidic food and beverages you consume. If you do consume acidic foods and drinks, make sure you rinse your teeth so that it doesn’t stick to your teeth.
  • Drink more water. Water helps increase saliva productivity, which helps remove food particles and debris from the teeth.
  • Use an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps strengthen the teeth over time. Feel free to consult with Dr. Spink about the best fluoride toothpaste to use for your teeth.
  • Restorative dentistry. Tooth enamel erosion can damage the health and aesthetics of your teeth. Dr. Spink can thoroughly examine your teeth and determine which restorative dentistry option is right for your smile. He may recommend the use of dental crowns or veneers for teeth severely damaged by tooth enamel erosion.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Dr. Spink offers a range of cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry services in his convenient Birmingham, AL dental office. Patients who have noticed they damaged enamel can benefit from a visit to Spink Dentistry. Please feel free to schedule an appointment online or call 205.235.5043