You might think your teeth look strong and healthy despite a barely noticeable color change, but a reoccurring sensitivity or sudden proliferation of cavities indicates something is wrong. In many cases, poor oral hygiene or a love of acidic drinks has worn away so much enamel that your teeth are no longer properly protected from damage. Find out how a cosmetic dentist, such as those at Milan Simanek, D.D.S. & Associates, can help you restore the structure of your teeth in five different ways.
Finding the Cause
The same dentist who helps you restore the bright white look of your smile has all the training necessary to handle the medical side of treatment too. Your cosmetic dentist needs to figure out what's eroding your enamel before they cover up the exposed dentin or the damage will only worsen. The most common causes of missing enamel in adults include:
- Eating and drinking products with a high sugar content or too much acid
- Malnutrition and low levels of essential minerals like calcium and Vitamin D
- Acid damage in the mouth due to acid reflux or regular vomiting
- Wear and tear due to improper bite patterns or bad habits like chewing on pens.
Treating the Bacteria
If you first discover you're facing an enamel problem because your dentist discovers three or four cavities all at once, you'll need to remedy the bacterial overgrowth causing this damage. When a cosmetic dentist adds crowns or veneers to replace the missing enamel without killing off the cavity-causing bacteria first, the damage continues in the tooth tissue hidden under the new surface. Cavities are actually considered a chronic disease that can be treated and controlled, not just a fact of life. You'll need a complete program of fluoride mouthwashes, toothpastes, and protective fillings to make sure the decay is stopped before any further work is done to protect the teeth or restore the smile, and your cosmetic dentist can help advise you in building such a program.
Covering the Surface
Once you've fixed the cause of the damage and stabilized the bacterial balance in your mouth, your cosmetic dentist can get on to the hard work of restoring your teeth. The right kind of covering will stabilize the tooth to preventing cracking, act like enamel by keeping acids and bacteria off the softer dentin layer, and restore the look of your smile all at once. Your dentist can help you pick from options like:
- Thin veneers bonded permanently to the surface, which are shaped and colored to match the rest of your smile
- Crowns made from porcelain or resin, which are the best option if your teeth are cracked or otherwise damaged and need extra reinforcement
- Temporary coatings made from clear plastic, which only work for the mildest cases of enamel erosion with an obvious and preventable cause.
Rebuilding the Damage
If you catch the problem early enough, you may be able to reverse the damage instead of spending a lot of money on complex treatments to cover up the tooth surface. Timely fluoride treatments help the teeth attract minerals and restore a smooth, hard layer of enamel. Your cosmetic dentist will help you pick mouth rinses, tooth pastes, and other products that deliver high doses of fluoride without putting your health at risk.
Advising the Replacement
Finally, the cosmetic dentist may recommend that you remove some of the most damaged teeth instead of trying to restore them. When a root canal or crown is out of the question, an experienced dental professional can perform an extraction and design a dental implant that fits right into the space. Dental implants are permanently anchored in the jaw like your natural teeth, so there's no need to settle for slipping and sliding dentures just because your enamel erosion left your teeth beyond repair.