When your teeth are yellow no matter how much you brush, it may be that you have lost your tooth enamel. Enamel erosion or abrasion is the thinning out of the enamel coating over your teeth. The average tooth has about 2 millimeters of enamel on the chewing surfaces and 1.5 mm on the front surfaces. Underneath the enamel surface of a tooth is dentin. The majority of the tooth is made up of dentin. Dentin is more yellow and is less hard. While enamel is a very hard and dense surface, dentin is soft and will accept stains easily. Common and bleaching doesn’t work as well on dentin as it does on enamel.
When you see that your smile looks quite yellowed in the mirror, you may immediately assume that this esthetic issue is the result of staining. However, you may find yourself quite surprised to discover that bleaching won’t work. When you have lost your enamel, the teeth need to be covered to be made brighter and for protection.
Normally your dentist will suggest something like porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns to fix your grin. Why can’t you just rely on teeth whitening to solve the problem, you wonder? Well, in the case of severe erosion, your teeth may indeed have staining. However, much of the yellow you’re seeing is the result of your dentin (the tooth layer beneath your protective enamel) becoming more visible. What you require, then, is repair and camouflaging!
Why Has Enamel Erosion Occurred?
You may be somewhat shocked that you need something like porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns for your smile when you figured that all you were going to need was teeth bleaching. Where did this erosion come from, you may wonder? Here are some possibilities:
- Acid erosion breaks down your enamel over time. When you’re consuming a large or consistent quantity of acidic drinks (this could be juice, soda, alcoholic beverages), you’re nursing them throughout the day, or you’re not mindful about rinsing or brushing afterwards, they erode your tissue. Drinking through a straw will reduce the amount of liquid that touches your teeth.
- Physical erosion is also a serious possibility, which happens from something rubbing against your teeth. If you’re quite aggressive with your brushing, for example, you can erode your teeth.
What Can Be Done About Lost Enamel?
Depending on the severity of your erosion, we may suggest porcelain veneers to camouflage the esthetic damage or we may suggest porcelain crowns to rescue your teeth. We also offer cosmetic bonding. Remember that your reasons for improvement become twofold with erosion. First, you want to cover up the stains and the visible dentin, so your teeth look bright and white again. Second, you want to reconstruct the missing enamel to ensure your teeth are strong, nerves are protecting, and your smile is in good shape for daily use!
How Can I Get Started?
Give us a call. It’s impossible to figure everything out on your own at home. A cosmetic consultation with us will allow you to learn all about your smile, your discoloration from enamel erosion, and to land on a treatment plan you feel comfortable with (and excited about).
Learn more about enamel erosion
When you know you want a whiter smile but you’re not sure which avenue to take, come on in to discuss your options with our friendly team. Our practice is proud to serve Chicago and all surrounding communities in the Chicago Metro area. To schedule a consultation, call our office at 847-234-0517.