At Lifetime Family Dental we believe the more educated you are about your oral health, the more empowered you are to make good choices. So today, we’d like to highlight TOOTH ENAMEL. You’re probably aware that tooth enamel has something to do with the protection of your teeth. But what exactly is tooth enamel, and how does it function?
The Skinny on Enamel
Enamel is the substance on the outside of the teeth that you see when someone smiles. It coats your teeth, or more accurately, fills pockets in your teeth, that in turn, prevent decay and erosion. Enamel is the strongest substance in your body, even stronger than your bones! It’s that incredible strength that protects your teeth as you eat. Without enamel, the grinding process involved in eating would quickly wear down your teeth. In addition, tooth enamel insulates your teeth and helps protect them from drastic temperatures or harmful chemicals.
Signs of Enamel Erosion
Enamel does not like acid or plaque, and when exposed to either substance, enamel can begin to erode. Once enamel is gone, your body does not regenerate more enamel.
Some of the signs of enamel erosion can include:
* Sensitivity. Since enamel is an insulator for your teeth, when it begins to erode, teeth can become more susceptible to the pain induced by hot or cold temperatures, or by chewing hard or crunchy foods.
* Discoloration. Enamel is a whitish, semi-transparent substance. Just beneath it lies the dentin of your teeth, which is yellowish in color. As your enamel erodes, the dentin is exposed, causing your teeth to appear more yellow in hue.
* Rough Edges. Enamel creates a smooth, protective covering for your teeth. But when enamel starts to erode, your teeth may take on a more jagged appearance due to their susceptibility to cracks and chips.
When your enamel wears down to a certain point, you may need to consider a cosmetic treatment such as bonding or veneers. Bonding involves applying a tooth-colored resin and hardening it through the use of a high-powered light. Dental veneers are custom-designed shells made of tooth-like ceramic material. When applied to the surface of a tooth, a dental veneer can cover worn tooth enamel, uneven tooth alignment, spacing, or chips and cracks.
If you’re concerned that your tooth enamel has worn down and may require a cosmetic approach, call us and schedule an appointment with one of our accomplished dentists!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/29/2018) Jeff (Flickr)