Enamel, the hard shell on the outside of your tooth, is the leading defense against developing cavities and infections in your teeth. However, the enamel isn't invincible. If it's worn down or damaged over time, it can become less effective at doing its job, and may increase your risk for developing cavities or other tooth problems as a result. While a dentist can tell you right away if your dental enamel is in poor shape, there are some ways you can tell at home, too.
Texture and Color
The white color people associate with healthy teeth is actually color coming from dental enamel. Teeth are a darker color underneath this layer, so when dental enamel becomes thinner, it can cause these darker shades to shine through. However, simple color changes aren't enough to tell if your enamel is in poor shape, as other things can cause tooth discoloration, like tea, coffee, and other dental disorders.
One way to tell if your enamel has seen better days is by checking the surface of your teeth. Enamel is supposed to be smooth and slick; think of how your teeth feel after a dental cleaning. When enamel is broken down, it often wears down irregularly, causing a rough surface on the tooth. Your tongue may be able to detect this better than your eyes or fingers. If you're feeling a rough surface and your teeth are discolored, it's not a good sign.
Another potential way of determining if you have weak or damaged enamel is by experiencing pain. Dental pain can be caused by a lot of things, so it's the type of pain and when it triggers that you need to pay attention to.
For most people, if the enamel is in very bad shape, you may have pain whenever your teeth are touched. This is because, with weakened enamel, the nerve endings in your tooth are more sensitive. Brushing, eating, or even touching your tongue to your teeth can be painful. In some cases, though, these things may not hurt, but you may experience discomfort after consuming certain things, like orange juice. High acid content temporarily softens dental enamel, further degrading what you have, and inducing pain as a result.
What to Do
The good thing is that none of these issues mean the end of the world. Your dentist can assess and readily help you with weakened dental enamel.
In some cases, it may be possible to repair your dental enamel. However, even if that can't be done, teeth can be protected with things like crowns or your dentist can utilize dental bonding, which repairs damaged enamel with the same material that's used in dental fillings. In any case, you can rest easy knowing that following treatment, your discomfort and discoloration will be minimized if not eliminated.Share
11 March 2022
My son was outside playing with some friends when he accidentally fell down and hit his mouth on the sidewalk. The fall knocked out his front tooth, so I immediately placed the tooth in a small jar and added some milk. I rushed my son to the dental clinic and the dentist immediately took us into the examination room. The dentist placed the tooth back into the socket and saved it. My name is Beverly Tillman and thanks to the quick work of the dentist, my son didn't lose his tooth. Since this was a scary time for me and my son, I wanted to write this blog as a source of information for other parents who are facing a dental emergency. First of all, don't panic and get to your dentist as soon as possible. I hope this blog will help to answer your questions about dental emergencies.