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Choosing between dental fillings for tooth erosion teeth or dental crowns

Tooth erosion is a common condition that greatly affects our oral health. Tooth erosion can range from mild to severe. The mildest form is enamel erosion, while the most severe can lead to the destruction of the entire tooth. With our daily habits, we may unknowingly contribute to tooth erosion. So how can we recognize tooth erosion? What are the causes of tooth erosion? Can we choose to treat it with dental fillings or dental crowns? Let’s find out in this article with BeDental!

What is tooth erosion?

What is tooth erosion? Tooth erosion is the process of acid erosion that begins with enamel erosion. However, when there is no enamel left to protect the eroded area, the erosion process will penetrate deeper into the tooth, causing it to become smaller, darker, and even affecting your bite.

The process of enamel erosion is known to occur daily in our mouths. However, if the teeth are properly cared for, safe, and the process of enamel regeneration is still intact, it will not affect our oral health. However, tooth erosion can occur rapidly in individuals with poor oral hygiene habits and inadequate tooth protection, leading to a faster erosion process that affects oral health.


Tooth erosion
What is tooth erosion

Signs of tooth erosion

The signs to recognize tooth erosion are often not clear. However, we can rely on these characteristics to determine if tooth erosion may be occurring:

Color: If your teeth appear yellowish and no longer have the same shine as before, you may be in the early stage of enamel erosion, which is the first stage of tooth erosion.

Sensitivity: If your teeth are sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet foods, it may be an initial sign of enamel loss. In the later stages of tooth erosion, it can cause increased pain and tooth sensitivity.

Shape: Your teeth may appear rough, dull, and have cracks, chips, or indentations. Teeth may also appear smaller, indicating ongoing tooth erosion.

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Causes of tooth erosion

Tooth erosion occurs when acids erode the tooth enamel. The causes of tooth erosion include:

  • Consuming excessive amounts of acidic drinks, such as sodas with high phosphoric and citric acid content. These sweet beverages promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth, which produce acid that can erode tooth enamel. This process occurs more rapidly and causes more damage to teeth if oral hygiene is not maintained regularly. Additionally, acids are also present in fruit juices, acidic foods, coffee, alcohol, etc., which have high erosive potential. Consuming them in large quantities can accelerate the process of tooth erosion.
  • Saliva plays a role in cleaning bacteria and residual food particles in the mouth, helping to neutralize acid levels in the teeth. Therefore, insufficient saliva flow can also contribute to tooth erosion.
  • A diet high in sugar and starch can also contribute to tooth erosion.
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Causes of tooth erosion
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux. They bring acid from the stomach up to the mouth, and these acids can damage tooth enamel.
  • Digestive issues.
  • Medications (histamine blockers, aspirin, vitamin C).
  • Genetics (hereditary conditions).
  • Environmental factors such as excessive tooth grinding or clenching, leading to natural wear and tear. Stress is also one of the factors that can cause tooth erosion.

Types of tooth erosion

Tooth erosion can be the result of one or more of the following processes:


This abrasion occurs due to the interaction of the teeth with other materials that impact them. The most common cause of this type of abrasion is toothbrush damage, meaning you are using a toothbrush that is too hard or applying too much force when brushing.

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This can affect the surface of your teeth. Other causes of abrasion may include using dental floss or dental picks incorrectly. The impact of dental instruments and devices on teeth can also contribute to abrasion. Tooth abrasion can also occur from biting on hard particles or biting nails and pens.

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Tooth abrasion

This occurs when there is contact between teeth and teeth, occurring multiple times throughout the day and often resulting from habits such as teeth grinding, especially during sleep when we may not be aware of it. This puts our teeth under 10 times the normal force, leading to gradual tooth abrasion and tooth damage.

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Tooth erosion

When your teeth come into contact with acidic substances in your diet, the acid can actually erode and dissolve the tooth enamel on our teeth. The culprits of this type of tooth erosion often include soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks. Some types of fruit juices are also acidic, so drinking filtered water after consuming these acidic beverages can help prevent this erosion.

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Erosion of the tooth neck

Erosion of the tooth neck specifically refers to the loss of tooth enamel at the neck of the tooth (the V-shaped area between the tooth and the gumline). This type of erosion often leads to tooth sensitivity and irritation and is commonly seen in middle-aged and older individuals. The cause of this type of tooth erosion is attributed to prolonged bending forces acting on the neck area of the tooth.

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What harm does tooth erosion cause?

Increased risk of tooth decay due to enamel loss

Eroded teeth are more prone to cavities and damage. When teeth erode, some of the protective outer layers, called tooth enamel, are lost, so they are no longer there to prevent bacteria from invading the teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities.

Uneven bite

When teeth lose their natural shape or have uneven lengths. Since all our teeth work together in a dental system, when one tooth erodes, all the other teeth will be affected in terms of how they align with each other, thus affecting the bite. A poor bite can lead to teeth grinding while sleeping, which only contributes to more tooth erosion and damage over time.

A poor bite not only affects oral health but is also related to other health issues such as jaw misalignment, temporomandibular disorders, headaches, facial and neck muscle pain, as well as behavioral and sleep problems.

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Facial changes

Teeth can erode to the point of significant loss. Therefore, in daily activities such as chewing and biting, excessive impact on the teeth can cause deformity of the dental arch, resulting in changes in the face as well.

How can tooth erosion be treated?

Optimal methods for treating tooth enamel erosion at dental clinics include dental crowns and dental fillings for eroded teeth.

Dental filling for eroded teeth

Preventing tooth enamel erosion is important, as enamel is a hard layer that protects teeth from external factors. However, enamel erosion is inevitable. As a result, one of the optimal ways to treat and limit the process of tooth enamel erosion and protect teeth when enamel is lost or teeth are eroded, is dental filling for eroded teeth.

During the dental filling process, dental professionals typically use a dental compound that matches the color of the teeth to fill or repair cavities, helping to restore the original shape of the teeth while improving aesthetics and chewing function, and protecting the teeth from further erosion.

Dental restoration with dental crowns for eroded teeth

Dental restoration with dental crowns, also known as dental veneers, is another method to improve the condition of eroded teeth. This process involves removing a portion of the enamel on the surface of the tooth that needs to be covered with a dental crown, which has been pre-determined by the dentist to have the appropriate size ratio. The removed portion is then restored by placing a dental crown that matches the shape, size, and color of the natural tooth, helping to protect the inner part of the tooth from bacterial attack and prevent further erosion.

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Should I choose dental filling or dental crowns for eroded teeth?

Dental filling for eroded teeth and dental crowns are two methods that can effectively treat tooth erosion. However, these two methods have differences and cannot be used interchangeably.

Dental filling is considered a basic method that has less impact on the tooth structure but provides temporary results in treating tooth enamel erosion. The filling material is not able to withstand high chewing pressure and is prone to chipping and displacement. The lifespan of dental fillings is usually around 3-5 years.

On the other hand, dental crowns provide longer-lasting results. However, they can affect the tooth structure to adjust the alignment and provide a suitable crown. The average lifespan of dental crowns is 10-15 years, and with certain high-quality materials, it can last over 20 years or even a lifetime with proper care.

Although dental crowns have longer-lasting effects and advantages, the choice between dental crowns and dental fillings for treating eroded teeth depends on the specific case and the cause of tooth erosion. Dentists will determine the appropriate treatment method to save costs and improve the effectiveness of treatment for eroded teeth.

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How to prevent tooth erosion?

To prevent tooth enamel erosion and maintain healthy teeth, remember to brush your teeth, use dental floss, and rinse with fluoridated and antiseptic mouthwash daily. Visit the dentist every 6 months for check-ups and regular cleanings. Additionally, adopt healthy habits such as:

  • Eliminate high-acid foods and beverages from your diet, such as carbonated drinks, lemons, citrus fruits, and citrus juices.
  • Use a straw when consuming acidic beverages to push the liquid to the back of your mouth, avoiding contact with your teeth.
  • Finish meals with a glass of milk or a piece of cheese to neutralize acid.
  • Snacking frequently increases the risk of tooth decay. The mouth remains acidic for a few hours after consuming snacks high in sugar and starch. Therefore, avoid snacking unless you can rinse your mouth and brush your teeth afterward to protect your oral health.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum helps increase saliva production by 10 times the normal flow. Saliva helps strengthen teeth with essential minerals. Make sure to choose sugar-free gum with xylitol, a substance that has been proven to reduce acid in drinks and food.

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  • Increase water intake if you have low saliva production or frequently experience dry mouth.
  • Use a soft toothbrush and avoid brushing too forcefully. It is recommended to brush your teeth at least one hour after eating or drinking acidic substances. Brushing immediately after meals can soften tooth enamel and make teeth more susceptible to damage from your toothbrush.
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride to help strengthen your teeth.

Tooth erosion is a condition that cannot be completely avoided, as it occurs daily in our mouths and certain lifestyle habits can accelerate the erosion process.

Therefore, we need preventive measures to improve this condition, minimize its occurrence, and protect our oral health. Additionally, if you suspect that you have tooth erosion and want to safeguard your dental health, do not hesitate to visit a dentist for timely evaluation and treatment before it’s too late.

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