Can Tooth Enamel Be Repaired Once It’s Damaged?

Can Tooth Enamel Be Repaired Once It’s Damaged?
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Can Tooth Enamel Be Repaired Once It’s Damaged?Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Restoring Weakened Enamel
  2. Treatments for Lost Enamel
  3. References

Once enamel is destroyed and lost, it cannot be fixed. This often leads to a cavity that will need to be filled by a dentist.

Fillings, crowns, veneers, and dental bonding can protect the tooth from further enamel loss and decay, and also improve overall appearance.

Restoring Weakened Enamel

Enamel is the hard, white, mineral surface on the outside of your teeth. Acids from food and drinks can break down these minerals and the enamel.

Minerals in your saliva, and in oral hygiene products, can help to restore these minerals and repair weakened enamel. If the enamel is in the early stages of tooth decay, it can be repaired. Once tooth enamel is gone, it cannot be restored. Your body will not be able to make more. Tooth enamel breaks down in stages, however. In the early stage of tooth decay, you can repair and restore your enamel through remineralization. To prevent further enamel loss, tooth decay, and erosion, there are some steps you can take that help the enamel to repair itself.

  • Limit foods that are sugary, starchy, and acidic.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss and clean between your teeth daily.
  • Use a fluoride mouthwash.
  • Stop smoking, or do not start smoking.
  • Drink plenty of water, and stimulate saliva production with sugar-free gum or lozenges.
  • Get regular dental cleanings at least every six months.

An early sign of tooth decay and damaged enamel is a white spot on the tooth. If you notice this, tooth sensitivity or pain, rough spots, or changes in tooth color, see your dentist. Catching damaged enamel early is one of the best ways to reverse the damage and help repair it before it is lost.

Treatments for Lost Enamel

Once tooth decay has progressed and enamel is destroyed, it is beyond repair. At this point, a dental professional can use one of the following treatments to keep more enamel from being destroyed, to stop tooth decay from progressing, and to improve your cosmetic appearance by fixing the tooth:

  • Fillings: A filling involves using a composite or amalgam material to replace the part of the tooth that is decayed and removed. A dental filling can last as long as 20 years. While fillings may need to be replaced at some point, they are one of the more permanent options for repairing a tooth that has lost enamel.
  • Veneers: Dental veneers are cosmetic and used to improve the appearance of teeth after damage to the enamel. They are porcelain or resin-based, and they can last 5 to 20 years, depending on the type.
  • Crowns: A crown is needed when the tooth is too damaged for a cavity to be enough, and the structure of the tooth is weakened. A crown is a cap placed over the tooth to protect and stabilize it. It will typically last between 5 and 15 years.
  • Dental bonding: This is also a cosmetic procedure that applies resin to the affected tooth and uses a specialized light to harden it. Dental bonding can repair the shape of teeth that have enamel damage. It lasts between 3 and 10 years.

To keep damaged tooth enamel from getting worse and losing more of these irreplaceable minerals, practice good oral hygiene and check in with your dentist regularly. Many of these methods can improve overall appearance after losing tooth enamel. They can also prevent further enamel loss.

References

Can Tooth Enamel Be Restored? (2021). Colgate-Palmolive Company. Date Fetched: June 20, 2021.

Tooth Enamel: Loss, Erosion, and Repair. (2021). Crest- Proctor & Gamble. Date Fetched: June 20, 2021.

Dental Fillings are Durable but Don’t Last Forever. (2021). Colgate-Palmolive Company. Date Fetched: June 20, 2021.

How Long Does Tooth Bonding Last? (2021). Colgate-Palmolive Company. Date Fetched: June 20, 2021.

The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse it and Avoid a Cavity. (July 2018). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Date Fetched: June 20, 2021.

Dental Cavities. (June 2021). U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Date Fetched: June 20, 2021.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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