Dental Erosion
Treatment Options

Dental Erosion Treatment Options

Dental Erosion due to Chemical Dissolution by Acids.

Dental Erosion: Acid Erosion

Dental erosion is the loss of tooth structure, generally tooth enamel, due to chemical dissolution by acids. These acids are not the same as those responsible for individual tooth decay processes or cavities, however, the effects of Dental Acid erosion can be very damaging to multiple teeth, simultaneously.
If unchecked the effects of Dental Tooth erosion can lead to significant deterioration in the appearance of teeth, specifically tooth colour and shape combined with growing tooth sensitivity and in some cases impaired chewing function.
The more extensive the Dental Erosion processes, the more complex the treatment requirement to correct the damage to tooth appearance and dental function.

Dental Treatments Dublin 18 - BeforeDental Treatments Dublin 18 - After

Causes of Dental Tooth Erosion

Food and drinks with low pH, having a high level of acidity are quite commonly responsible for tooth erosion. These range from excessive intake of citrus fruits, to carbonated drinks and wines. For list of these refer to the “Measures of Acidity pH” table below”. Remember combinations of food and habits described below can lead to more rapid loss of tooth structure resulting from Dental Erosion.

The damaging effects of Dental Erosion are caused by three distinct factors:

Acid sources from dietary sources outside the mouth

Food and drinks with a low pH.
Acid sources from inside the mouth
Gastric Fluid. This can be caused by a condition known as GORD(GERD) Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This is a disease where gastric fluid from the stomach comes in contact with the teeth causing erosion and commonly occurs during sleep.
People who suffer from eating disorders, Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa can experience very significant tooth erosion similar to GORD(GERD) patients.

Habits and behaviours which cause erosion.

Excessive tooth brushing with abrasive toothpastes and habits such as swishing of acidic low pH drinks or biting lemons can increase the acidic content of oral fluids. Teeth subject to acid erosion can also significantly contribute to the tooth wear caused by tooth grinding or Sleep Bruxism due to removal of the harder outer enamel surface.

Loss of gum height and infection around molar teeth in a Diabetic Patient

Loss of Gum height and infection around molar teeth in a Diabetic Patient

Measures Of Acidity PH

The term pH is used to measure the acidity of a food or fluid. The lower the pH figure the more acidic the substance the more likely it is to cause tooth erosion if consumed in significant quantities. A pH of below 5 can begin the process of Tooth erosion. For example a citrus fruit like lemon juice has a pH of 2. Gastric fluid from the stomach has a pH of 1.

Signs and changes to look out for if you suspect Tooth Erosion

  • Sensitivity to cold drinks and sweet substances
  • Colour changes to your teeth which can become more translucient
  • Teeth can become more yellow and have a glassy smooth feel
  • Tooth shape changes, becoming more rounded or enamel cracks due to the loss of supporting tooth structure, depending on the source of the Acid Erosion.
  • Little pits or concavities appear on the surface of molar teeth
  • Old metal fillings if present in teeth, more commonly posterior molar teeth, may appear raised as the tooth structure surrounding them is eroded.

Questions about Tooth Erosion

What is causing tooth erosion?

  • Are the changes due to erosion only or are there other dental issues or medical problems contributing to the picture of dental erosion and the changes to the teeth? Your dental professional will discuss these concerns in detail with you and draw up a plan to manage your presenting condition, maintain your dental health and provide you with a plan to avoid further tooth erosion.
  • For medical conditions, including GORD, Bulimia, Anorexia Nervosa, a medical diagnosis is required. If your dentist suspects possible medical condition, a referral will be made for support and management through further diagnosis, if indicated
  • Excessive consumption of food and drinks with low pH
  • Inadequate or inappropriate dental hygiene procedures.
  • Too much tooth brushing with abrasive toothpastes
  • Not using a remineralising fluoride based toothpaste

How is Tooth Erosion managed?

Diagnosis is central to identifying the primary cause or causes of the problem.

Medical Intervention if the erosion is found not to be primarily due to dietary factors, a medical referral is necessary

Dietary modification to manage the identified tooth erosion caused by food or drinks and specific dental habits.

Dental Intervention is designed to PREVENT further damage to tooth structure and appearance and to control sensitivity.

Dental Intervention to RESTORE and protect teeth from further damage due to significant loss of tooth structure, from ongoing exposure to dental erosion. 

This could involve (where appropriate) some dental bonding procedures, dental crowns or veneering treatments, depending on the severity of the problem. 

Treatment is accompanied by preventative dental or medical interventions.

Dental Hygiene information including the selection of specific toothbrushes and techniques. Personalised, comprehensive advice on the most appropriate toothpastes and mouthwash used are also an important feature of comprehensive dental home care.


American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
Irish Sleep Society
American Collee of Prosthodontists
The American Board of Prosthodontics

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