Your teeth are protected on the outside by enamel, the hardest bone in the body. However, there are many ways it can be damaged and that risks exposing the softer dentin layer underneath, which protects the inner core of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. The dentin gives teeth their white appearance, since the enamel is translucent.
Frequent Signs to Look Out For
The most common signs that the dentin has been exposed are sensitivity or pain when you eat or drink anything cold, hot, sugary, or acidic.
Sugary actually means not just candy, ice cream, and sodas, but alcohol because of its high sugar content. It also dries the mouth, which prevents saliva from its primary function of combating periodontal bacteria and neutralizing acids. You can protect your mouth by selecting a low-alcohol beverage like light beer, gin and tonic, or brut champagne, then drinking water afterwards.
Treating this Condition
You can also sweeten your coffee and snacks with Xylitol, a type of natural sugar that actually combats oral bacteria. Acidic foods include sodas (carbonation wears down enamel), tomatoes, and citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. If you consume them, follow with water.
Improving Dental Hygiene
Poor dental hygiene can lead to penetration of the enamel. To avoid this, brush for two minutes after breakfast (which also cleans off the bacteria that collects on teeth during the night) and then after the last snack of the day, when you also floss. Both need to be done thoroughly or food particles that are left will attract bacteria that within a few days will turn into a sticky film called plaque. Professional dental cleanings can help too. This begins to detach the gums from the teeth, known as gum recession, which eventually causes the teeth to fall out or need to be extracted.
Of course, inadequate brushing and flossing can also result not just periodontal (gum) disease but cavities. Tooth decay eats through the enamel and the cavity (aka dental caries) needs to be removed and replaced with a filling or, if large, dental bonding. If you have ongoing oral infections, ask your dental hygienist to show you the right techniques and recommend a water flosser and a professional grade of mouthwash.
But a hard toothbrush that is used too vigorously can erode enamel, as can toothpastes with charcoal. Use a soft brush or an electric one with a fluoride toothpaste.
Of course, dentin can also be exposed because of injury to the mouth in a sports or car accident, which may require dental veneers placed on the front of the damaged teeth.
Many people also grind their teeth while they sleep, known as bruxism. The tops of these teeth can be repaired with fillings or dental crowns and protected from further damage by having Dr. Razi work with a top dental lab to create a personalized mouthguard to wear at night.
If you have not had a full dental examination in the past six months, call Mission Hills Dental today.
For Dental Implants & Oral Sedation
Our office utilizes state-of-the-art dental technology! Some of our equipment includes Invisalign braces, ZOOM teeth whitening, all-porcelain veneers, and dental implants. We believe that we are obligated to provide the best care that we possibly can.
Mission Hills Dental
10515 Balboa Blvd. Suite #250
Granada Hills, CA 91344
Mon, Tue, Thur: 8am - 5pm
Wed: 9am - 6pm
Fri - Sun: Closed