A clear protective layer called enamel protects your teeth from damage. Fluorides in your saliva and tooth care products help strengthen existing enamel. But acids from within your body or in foods you eat can cause enamel erosion, which weakens your natural defenses and makes teeth more prone to chipping and cavities.
There are a few different treatment options for tooth erosion depending on the severity and the source of the acid. You can discuss treatment options with your general or cosmetic dentist.
If enamel wear is being caused by the acid in food and drink, you need to either stop eating those items entirely or brush your teeth immediately after. Your dentist might also prescribe a strong fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste to help boost existing enamel.
Enamel doesn't regenerate, so if substantial erosion has already happened, these lifestyle changes might not make a significant difference. But it's still worth a try if some of your teeth still have existing enamel.
Acid from within your body can also cause enamel erosion. This tends to happen if you vomit frequently or have severe acid reflux. Your dentist might have you visit a general practitioner to receive treatment for the underlying cause of intrinsic acid. Treatment might include a nutritional guide for easing reflux or an acid-reducing medication.
Moderate enamel erosion can leave teeth at a great risk of damage. If you still have enamel left to protect, your dentist might recommend dental crowns.
Your natural tooth crown is the white section of tooth that you can see when you look in your mouth–basically everything above the gums and teeth roots. A dental crown is an artificial shell shaped like your natural crown. The shell fits down over part or all of your existing tooth to protect the enamel and dentin (the bulk of the tooth beneath the enamel) from further acid damage.
Severe enamel erosion can lead to equally severe damage to the dentin of your tooth. In those cases, a dental crown isn't going to provide much help, as the natural tooth isn't strong enough to support the shell.
Dental veneers can replicate the dentin while still maintaining a core of natural tooth. For the veneer, your dentist will shave down the tooth until only a center of root canal and thin dentin casing exists. A tooth-colored shell is then bonded to the remaining tooth.