EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT DENTIN
You’ve likely heard your dentist mention dentin during one of your visits. However, if you’re like most of us outside of the dental profession, you’re probably unclear as to what this word really means.
WHAT IS DENTIN?
Dentin, one of the four major components of your teeth, is the bone-like part that lies directly below the enamel. Unlike the enamel, your dentin is slightly yellowish in color and is somewhat porous. An injury to your tooth or excess wear can expose the dentin. You’ll most often see this at the base of your teeth, near the gum line. Dentin functions to support the enamel and hold it in place as well as transmit messages and impulses from the tooth to the nerves.
WHY YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF DENTIN
Exposed dentin can be painful. If you’ve ever been awakened in the middle of the night with a toothache, it could very well be due to dentin being exposed to the atmosphere. Since the dentin is responsible for sending messages to the nerves, you can get shooting pains surrounding your teeth from exposed dentin. If this happens, or anytime you have a toothache that doesn’t go away quickly, it’s time to make an appointment with your dentist.
Dentin cannot be whitened. Unlike enamel, dentin is porous and can’t be whitened with commercial or professional whitening solutions. Think of the difference between ceramic tile and the grout that holds them together. One is easy to clean and polish; the other is almost impossible to brighten. Too much exposed dentin is not only painful but can mar your otherwise perfect smile.
Dentin can harbor bacteria. Since dentin, unlike enamel, is porous, it can collect bacteria easily if you don’t brush and floss your teeth carefully. As food particles break down, they can produce bacteria that can get lodged in the inner nooks and crannies of your dentin.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT EXPOSED DENTIN
Exposed dentin can not only be unsightly, but it can cause your teeth to be extremely sensitive to heat and cold. It can also be painful as your tooth wears and this part of the tooth becomes exposed to the air. Cosmetic dentistry offers a number of solutions for exposed dentin. Veneers are an affordable way to cover the faces of your teeth, seal that dentin and brighten your smile. For extreme cases, implants can replace a tooth where a large amount of dentin is showing, while still creating a life-like smile. The dental professionals at Biltmore Commons Dental Care know the importance of dentin. Our Phoenix area dental practice has been caring for area residents like you for more than a decade, and we offer the latest technologies in preventive, restorative and cosmetic dentistry. For more tips on keeping your teeth clean and healthy or to schedule an appointment, contact us.