Tooth enamel is one of the hardest substances in the human body, but that doesn't mean it's indestructible. Over time, a range of factors can erode the enamel on your teeth, leaving them sensitive, discoloured, and more susceptible to decay. Common culprits include acidic foods and teeth grinding, but there are quite a few things that can be very damaging to enamel.
While there's no way to restore lost enamel, there are treatments available that can help with the appearance and health of your teeth. Veneers are one such treatment, even though they're more commonly associated with cosmetic dentistry. Here's what you should know about lost enamel, and how veneers can help.
What's the problem with eroded tooth enamel?
The main job of tooth enamel is to protect the sensitive nerves inside teeth from pain caused by hot or cold, sugary foods, and acid. When it wears away, you might find eating some things quite uncomfortable, and may even have started to avoid things like ice cream.
When enamel is eroded, it also causes the layer underneath it, called dentine, to be more visible. Because dentine has a yellowish colour, it makes it impossible to maintain white teeth, which can damage your confidence.
How are veneers used?
A veneer is a thin tooth-shaped piece of material, often made from porcelain. They fit over teeth and are bonded in place, which should last a long time as long as you follow your dentist's advice and look after them.
When veneers are fitted for cosmetic reasons, the dentist will first remove some of the enamel from each tooth so the bonding sticks more firmly. This should give you some idea how effective they are at replacing enamel that's been lost through other means.
Once your new veneers are in place, your teeth will instantly look more white, as the porcelain ensures the dentine is hidden. You should also notice a massive improvement in tooth sensitivity issues.
Are they suitable for every case?
Because veneers mostly cover the front surface of the tooth, if there's extensive enamel loss at the back, they might not cover enough to help with the problem.
If this is the case, crowns might be a better option, but they're a more extensive treatment that requires a bit more work before they're fitted. Your dentist will advise you on what's most suitable, but it's always worth finding out if veneers can help you.