Dental cupping or tooth cupping is a condition in which small dents or cups start developing on the tooth surface due to enamel and dentin erosion. Cups and grooves appear like dental potholes and are considered as a rare form of corrosion. Once the hole reaches the dentin, the enamel layer starts collapsing, and the cupped part starts becoming deeper and broader. Teeth that indicate cup-shaped tooth wear can also develop cracks or scratches due to lack of strength. Such deterioration is problematic for the overall oral health as it changes the shape and size of the affected tooth.
Some holes or craters are visible and can be seen if patients take a close look at their teeth in the mirror. However, those on molars can be diagnosed only during a dental checkup at a clinic. Dentists have unique lights and magnifying lenses that help them determine the type of erosion and causes behind them.
Causes of dental cupping
Erosion and dental bruxism are the primary causes of cup-shaped tooth wear. Acid erosion can happen due to multiple internal and external causes. When it comes to reasons behind the formation of strong acids, dry mouth and stomach acid reflux, make it in the top five.
- Acid erosion
Poor oral health combined with acids in the mouth can exacerbate the natural erosion.
Acid erosion can be triggered due to fruit juices, wine, soda, and snacks as well. Almost every wine consists of sugar, as well as strong acids that can soften the enamel. Similarly, lemon, orange, apple, and cranberry juices are highly acidic and sugary; thus, they can cause an equal amount of damage. Studies have already proved how regular consumption of soda can be harmful to teeth.
- Dry mouth
Some prescription medications lower the mouth’s pH level, resulting in lesser saliva flow. And low saliva means a lesser dilution of acids in the mouth that cause dental erosion. Put simply; dry mouth results in acids that may cause cups and grooves.
- What triggers acid reflux?
Acid reflux or vomiting brings stomach acids to the mouth, and these acids cause maximum damage to the teeth enamel. Stomach abnormalities, pregnancy, smoking, or eating disorders cause acid reflux.
Ways to prevent tooth cupping
Following some basic steps can help in preventing cupping and associated long-term damage.
Snacking between meals proves to be a bad idea because it results in constant acid formation. Teeth remain surrounded by harmful bacteria at all times, resulting in more damage. Thus, to reduce the acid contact, it is advisable to not to snack between meals. Also, eating acidic foods with non-acidic ones can help in neutralizing the same. Water can wash away acids and harmful bacteria present in the mouth. So, drinking water after eating can prove to be a good habit.
Read nutrition labels on foods to ensure your sugar consumption remains under control. Use a straw while drinking soda or sugary drinks for ensuring these liquids do not come in contact with teeth.
Tooth enamel remains in a vulnerable position after eating as the acid from foods may soften the same. So, it is advisable to avoid brushing immediately after a meal. Wait for at least half an hour after eating.
Treatment for tooth cupping
Bonding is recommended if the erosion is significant but has not reached dentin. Dentists bond the teeth surface with a plastic-like thin-chip to protect it from further damage. The material used along with the chip matches the color of surrounding teeth, so it evens out discoloration.
But severely eroded teeth need restorative treatment. Depending on the severity of the cupping, dentists recommend the most suitable restorative treatment. A dental crown, inlay-onlay, or even a simple composite filling can be sufficient enough to restore the tooth structure.
Besides fixing cup-shaped tooth wear, it is crucial to pinpoint the underlying habit and stop further damage. So, the dental care professional may recommend some changes in eating and drinking habits. If the patient is also suffering from bruxism or teeth grinding, then the chances are that cupping might be related to the same. Dentists restore the lost tooth structure and recommend the best possible treatment for the medical condition to improve dental health. Neglecting the cups and grooves can increase tooth sensitivity. The patient may start experiencing tooth pain, jaw discomfort, and face tooth loss. Timely treatment can help save the teeth and avoid the visit to the hospital’s emergency room. Opting for a bi-annual checkup at a dental office is crucial as your dentist can check your teeth for possible symptoms of erosion that are not visible to the naked eye.
If you need the best dentist in Roswell (GA) to examine your teeth and offer suitable treatment for dental cupping, you should fix your appointment at TruCare Dentistry. The clinic follows are the OSHA and CDC guidelines for protecting patients and staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions related to teeth cupping, have a look:
Is cupping my teeth bad?
Yes, teeth cupping is bad for your overall oral health. Tooth cupping is a dental condition in which small dents start to develop on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. If not treated on time, the tooth enamel starts to collapse and the cups may become deeper and broader, leading to a weakened or cracked tooth.
Can tooth cupping be reversed?
Yes, tooth cupping can be reversed. Based on the severity of cupping, various restorative treatment options are available in the market such as the dental crown, inlay onlay restoration, or a simple composite filling.
How can I restore my enamel?
If your enamel has undergone too much damage, it is quite difficult to strengthen enamel back to its natural condition. However, if the damage is small or enamel is slightly weakened, it can be restored naturally. It is advisable to follow a good oral care routine like brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, chewing sugar-free gum to wash away harmful plaque bacteria, using a fluoride mouthwash, etc.
How do you strengthen tooth enamel?
To strengthen teeth enamel and keep teeth healthy, make sure to brush twice, floss, and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash daily. Also, see your dentist every 6 months for regular checkups and cleanings.
Why does tooth enamel fall?
One of the key reasons for enamel fall is the excess consumption of acidic foods and liquids, sugary foods, starchy foods, sodas, etc. Other causes of enamel fall or erosion can be not brushing your teeth properly, teeth grinding, gastroesophageal reflux disease, low salivary flow, and regular use of certain medications like antihistamines and aspirin.