Family Dental of Fairfax City
Family Dental of Fairfax City

What are the Consequences of Tooth Enamel Wear?

If you are starting to feel sensitivity in your teeth or notice that they are changing their color you should visit your dentist immediately. These conditions could be consequences of tooth enamel wear.

What Causes Tooth Enamel Wear?

Tooth enamel is the outermost part of the tooth. It is a hard surface. The wear of the enamel is a natural process that occurs mainly with time. But there are a number of factors that could speed up the process. The most relevant are:

  • Abrasion: This action occurs on the enamel due to intestinal problems such as reflux, consumption of some medications and intake of acidic foods such as juices, tea, coffee. These negatively affect the enamel of your teeth.

  • Friction: When you brush your teeth aggressively, with an inappropriate brush that has hard bristles you are damaging the enamel of your teeth. The rubbing of these bristles with your teeth is harmful, both for the enamel and for your gums. It can also be caused by friction between the upper and lower teeth (bruxism). This is very common, it is known as grinding. Many people are “night grinders” and will grind their teeth are night during their sleep.

  • Erosion: This is a natural process which normally occurs in older adults.

What Causes Tooth Enamel Wear?

Tooth enamel wear is a fairly common problem. It consists of progressively losing the thickness of the protective layer that covers the teeth. It is normal for this process to happen slowly over time. But if it starts to occur prematurely it can cause a lot of discomfort and dental problems. Some of them are:

Fragile if Thin

The dental enamel is one of the thicker and stronger layers of teeth. One of its functions is to streamline the process of chewing food. When the enamel begins to become thinner, it means that it will lose resistance against the external elements.

In some cases, the teeth become so fragile that they can begin to show fractures and even loss of dental structure.

In many cases, when the patient has a very advanced wear, specialists must resort to reconstruction techniques or dental crowns to restore the worn parts. But sometimes the only alternative is the removal of the worn teeth and the placement of dental implants.

Family Dental of Fairfax - Example of tooth enamel wear


If the protective layer of your teeth begins to wear out you might feel a little sensitivity, especially with very cold or hot drinks or foods.

We already mentioned that enamel is one of the thickest layers that covers a tooth. If it begins to lose its thickness, it means that external elements, such as temperature, can affect dental nerves in greater proportion. This in turn increases the likelihood of cavities and infections. 


Tooth enamel is practically translucent, while the layer underneath it is yellowish and is known as dentin. The coloring of the teeth depends on how thick or thin your enamel is, since the color of the enamel is translucent. So, if you have a very thin enamel layer, they will look yellowish or develop spots.

In addition to affecting the color of the teeth, it will also cause them to look opaque or have very low gloss. Wearing of this protective layer can seriously affect the functionality of your teeth.

So, before you face any or all of these problems, it is best to resort to preventive measures.

Looking to Restore Your Smile in Fairfax, VA?

If you have any questions about tooth enamel wear or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Patricia Dary, please don’t hesitate to contact Family Dental of Fairfax City! Our team is proud to provide dental restorations in Fairfax, VA. 

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