Dental erosion is a permanent loss of all or part of a tooth due to the gradual chemical breakdown of the tooth. This breakdown is triggered by the introduction of some type of acid to the surface of the tooth. When regular dental hygiene is not practiced, the acid gradually wears away at first the enamel coating the exterior of the tooth, then advances to begin breaking down the dentin that makes up the main body of the tooth. Unlike many health issues, dental erosion cannot be reversed. The only solutions are to halt the erosion and use modern techniques to rebuild the damaged area of the tooth, or to replace the tooth altogether.
The single most common origin of dental erosion has to do with the types of foods and beverages that are consumed. Many of these substances contain amounts of acid that will begin to eat away at tooth enamel if allowed to linger on the surface.
Some people are surprised to learn that fruit juices can do a great deal of damage to the teeth. In like manner, carbonated drinks also contain enough acid to cause damage. Dental enamel erosion can also be triggered by the components found in most wines.
Tooth erosion starts initially in the enamel and, if not treated, may progress to involve the yellowish underlying dentin.
Dental erosion can produce hypersensitivity or transient minor toothache to hot or cold, or to very sweet foods. This kind of tooth sensitivity cannot be controlled by simple methods.
Normal color of the tooth is changing in visible dull and yellowish appearance. Advance of uncontrolled dental erosion makes the first moves to thinner and shorter teeth. At some point, the missing tooth structure requires the dental restorations.