When the enamel of your teeth erodes, it can result in multiple issues, such as cavities, tooth decay, dental abscesses, and more. But what causes your tooth enamel to wear down in the first place? In this blog, we’ll tell you all about tooth enamel and decay, along with outlining the five stages of enamel erosion.
What is Tooth Enamel?
Did you know that your tooth is made up of multiple substances? There’s enamel, dentin, nerve pulp, cementum, and more. But, out of them all, enamel is the most important. After all, that is what essentially protects your tooth from damage and decay.
Tooth enamel is the thin yet extremely strong outer covering of the tooth. It’s this shell that covers the rest of your tooth, as well as the crown. Enamel is made entirely out of minerals and is identified as one of the hardest tissue in your body. When it gets harmed, it can cause tooth decay.
What is Tooth Decay?
Simply put, tooth decay refers to teeth damage. However, rather than being a surface-level injury, tooth decay is when harmful bacteria completely destroy your tooth. Be it from poor diet or lack of dental hygiene, once bacteria latch onto your teeth’s surface, they don’t let go.
This is precisely why taking care of your oral hygiene is so important.
Moreover, the bacteria in your mouth can harden over time if they’re not cleaned away. This can cause plaque to settle on your teeth. Plus, since plaque is highly acidic and harmful, it can cause your tooth enamel to erode without you even realizing it. In severe cases, enamel erosion can also give way to dental cavities.
Enamel Erosion Stages
If you notice sudden jolts of pain coursing through your teeth whenever you eat something hot or cold, your dental health might be in danger. Additionally, you can identify enamel erosion in its early stages by looking out for dark spots or cavities.
Nonetheless, here are the five main stages of enamel erosion:
- Demineralization All it takes is for the plaque to get on your teeth for the wear-down process to begin. When this happens, the tooth’s enamel starts to lose its minerals. This might cause white spots or a shade of translucency to appear on your tooth.
- Enamel Erosion If attention is not given to the first step, the enamel might as well be entering its second phase of erosion. The white spot on your tooth might turn into a darker shade of yellow or brown. In addition, a cavity could also appear on the tooth.
- Dentin Decay Dentin is the substance under the enamel. Since it’s so soft and sensitive, having it become vulnerable can be extremely dangerous. Once the tooth rot reaches the dentin, the process only escalates. This could then lead to heightened tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks.
- Pulp Damage Underneath dentin lies the pulp, which is the innermost part of your tooth. It’s filled with blood vessels and nerves responsible for your tooth’s overall health. When the pulp becomes susceptible to erosion, it can cause extreme bouts of pain, tenderness, and swelling in the area surrounding the tooth.
- Dental Abscess After all the tooth barriers are destroyed, it doesn’t take long for bacteria to sneak inside. Thus, this could lead to small pockets full of pus appearing on your gums. With dental abscess also comes high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and severe jaw pain.
In conclusion, if proper care isn’t taken, once all the enamel erosion stages are complete, the last step is losing your tooth completely. To prevent further tooth damage, call Texas Premier Dental at (281) 206-0100 to schedule an appointment today.