Extrinsic Acid Erosion: Symptoms And Treatments

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Tooth enamel is the hard covering of your teeth. It is typically very resilient, however, it can become thin and weak as a result of extrinsic acid erosion. Extrinsic acid erosion refers to acid erosion caused by sources that come from outside of the body such as acidic drinks, chewable aspirin, and vitamin C tablets. Conversely, intrinsic acid erosion refers to acid erosion caused by sources that come from inside of the body, such as when stomach acid makes contact with the teeth as a result of acid reflux disease.

Once enamel erosion develops, it may be easier for bacteria to get inside your teeth, increasing your risk for cavities and dental infections. While the damage from acid erosion cannot be reversed, your dentist may recommend the following interventions to help strengthen the tooth enamel and prevent future erosion. 

Symptoms Of Extrinsic Acid Erosion

One of the most common symptoms of extrinsic acid erosion is tooth sensitivity. Your teeth may become sensitive when you consume sugary foods and drinks as well as very hot and very cold foods and drinks. Another telltale sign of extrinsic acid erosion may include yellow or brownish teeth.

As your tooth enamel thins or wears away as a result of acid erosion, the dentin becomes exposed. Dentin is dark yellow and because acid erosion makes the enamel thin and translucent, the yellow dentin may show through. Indentions and roughness on the surface of your teeth may also be noticed if you have extrinsic acid erosion. 

Treatment Options

After your dentist has diagnosed extrinsic acid erosion, they may recommend reducing your intake of coffee, cola, and citrus juices, all of which are very acidic. While this will not strengthen your tooth enamel, it will help prevent the progression of acid erosion. In addition, if you take chewable medications or supplements such as aspirin or ascorbic acid tablets, your dentist may recommend that you switch to tablets that can be swallowed instead of chewed.

Another common treatment option for extrinsic acid erosion is the use of enamel strengthening toothpaste to help remineralize weakened tooth enamel. Finally, if your dentist determines that the aforementioned interventions need to be augmented, they may recommend dental crowns. Dental crowns, also known as caps, surround the entire tooth to protect it from further damage.

If you experience any of the above signs and symptoms of extrinsic acid erosion, make an appointment with your dentist. When acid erosion is recognized and treated as soon as possible, it may be less likely to progress, causing further damage to the tooth enamel.

For more information, contact a dentist near you.