Acid Wear - Dental Erosion

Dissolving teeth

Acid Wear - Dental Erosion

Acid wear is fast becoming a very big concern in dentistry.

Like anything else in nature, teeth are susceptible to their environment. Ever heard that Cola can dissolve a tooth? Well the truth is there is a lot more than Cola or any other carbonated drinks that can damage teeth.

What is acid wear?

Acid wear is a type of erosion. The acid causes the tooth structure to demineralise. This essentially means that the tooth is dissolving. Acid wear is a chronic issue, meaning it occurs over an extended period of time and repeated exposure causes loss of tooth structure.

Where does the acid come from?

Acid causing dental erosion can be divided into two categories based on the source.


External wear means any acid that comes from outside the body. This means anything that you consume. Examples include:

-          Carbonated/Fizzy Drinks eg. Mineral Water, Soft Drinks, Energy Drinks, Beer

-          Sports Drinks and Pre-workouts eg. Gatorade

-          Wine

-          Fruit and Juices

-          Vinaigrettes and some salad dressings

-          Vitamin C tablets (chewable)

Various foods and drinks have varying levels of acidity. This is known as the pH level. The pH level ranges from 0-14, low pH means it is acidic and high pH means it is basic. A pH of 7 is neutral. Soft drinks for example have a pH ranging from 2.0-4.0. Just as a comparison, battery acid’s pH is 1 while water is usually ~pH7 (neutral).

Teeth are strong enough to withstand some acidity but only to a certain threshold. When the pH of the oral environment drops below ~5.5 teeth can start to erode.


Internal wear means the acid originates from within the body. Commonly this is due to gastric reflux (GORD – Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disorder). This is when the barriers between the stomach and the oesophagus, that normally keep stomach acid within the stomach, lax and allow reflux into the oesophagus. Stomach acid ranges from pH1.5-3.5 and can cause a lot of damage to teeth over time.

Pregnant women are also particularly susceptible to acid wear due to morning sickness.

What damage can it do?

Acid wear can cause generalised damage to all teeth within the mouth. Not only does it cause direct damage to the teeth in the form of erosion but it increases the risk of decay significantly. Once teeth wear and there is a loss of tooth structure, that tooth structure will never return. When the wear becomes significant enough it can cause further nerve problems within the tooth. Acid exposure can also pose problems when it comes to restoring teeth.

What can I do to prevent it?

Majority of acid wear is caused by extrinsic factors ie. diet. Diet is a major factor and simply reducing your acid intake already helps.

Other strategies to reduce the impact of acid wear:

-          Substitute with water or dilute with water

-          Rinse with water after having something acidic

-          DO NOT brush for at least 1 hour after something acidic/an acidic episode

-          Topical application of toothpaste or GC ToothMousse with your finger, spit-don’t-rinse

-          Eat cheese afterwards

-          See your GP if you think you may have symptoms of gastric reflux

Can it be fixed?

Once tooth structure is lost it will not form again. This means for areas where the acid has caused significant wear the only option is to restore it with a filling.

The acidic environment can cause accelerated wear of fillings as well, so it is very important to get the acid exposure under control before restoring these areas.

 Acid wear white fillings

 The acid wear as evident along the gum line in this case was moderate and we were able to identify the cause as dietary and restore the teeth before further damage was done. The fillings not only fill in the gaps but they protect the tooth structure underneath from further wear.

Acid wear is a chronic problem and many people are not aware of the damage that has been done or is occurring. Regular checks and cleans are important to detect these issues early so that the tooth structure can be protected.

After all:

Prevention is always Best.

X-Rays and Radiation

what are they and why do we do them?

X-Rays and Radiation

What are X-rays?

X-rays (radiographs) are commonly used during dental procedures. It is an image created by electromagnetic waves of energy passing through an object (like a tooth) and reaching the receiving material (film). This results in an image of a structure and allows us to view the internal composition of the object to a certain degree.

Why are radiographs used?

Radiographs are primarily used as a diagnostic tool in dentistry. Try as we might, during a full examination, we cannot see every surface, like between teeth or underneath fillings. Radiographs help us visualise what is happening and can show us if there is anything abnormal occurring in or around your teeth that may be a concern. During procedures like root canal treatment or extractions, radiographs allow us to see the size, shape and orientation of the roots and the root canal system to help minimise any potential complications.

What is Radiation?

Radiation is the energy that travels through the structures to create the final image.

Although many people associate radiation with x-rays and nuclear energy, there is natural radiation everywhere. This is known as “background radiation” and comes from space (cosmic radiation), the earth and from living organisms. In fact even sleeping next to someone at night exposes you to a small degree of radiation.

How much Radiation will I be Exposed to?

To put things into perspective:


Average dose/year or as noted (mSv)

Sleeping next to someone for 8 hours


Single dental Radiograph at Queen Street Dental


Air Crew on Domestic Flights/year


Average Background Exposure/year


Air Crew on International Flights/year


Abdominal X-ray


Sleeping next to someone for 8 hours/year


Full Body CT scan


Will you stop sleeping next to your partner or no longer travel by plane? Dental radiographs in comparison are low dose, particularly at Queen Street Dental where we use digital radiographs that require less exposure.

Do I need radiographs?

Radiographs are only recommended when they are required. There is minimal risks associated with dental radiographs however we do keep exposure to a minimum where possible.

If a radiograph is recommended it means that it will be beneficial in the diagnosis and treatment of the tooth/teeth in question.

Here at Queen Street Dental we understand the concerns patients have regarding X-rays. If you have any questions at all please contact us.

Phone:           08 8346 1587

Email:              This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Preferred Provider


We are now preferred providers for HCF!

That means GAP-FREE:

  • checks ups
  • cleans
  • fluoride treatment
  • x-rays
  • mouthguards

for anyone with HCF health insurance!

Mother's Day Special

with The Palladeum

Mother's Day Special


This Mother's Day (11 May 2014), Queen Street Dental & The Palladeum are offering this wonderful care package.

Whether you want to buy this for someone special or just to spoil yourself, give us a call!

Come in and see us for that clean mouth feeling and then be pampered by the girls at The Palladeum.

Offer available until 01/06/2014.

For more information feel free to contact either Queen Street Dental or The Palladeum.

Cracked Teeth!

the possible consequences of amalgam

Amalgam used to be the material of choice for fillings. Though they can last a long time and are hard wearing, they put a great deal of stress on the surrounding tooth structure.

  • Amalgam is metallic, with every bite, the force from above causes the metal to warp slightly
  • This force is transferred to the walls of the tooth around the filling
  • Over time cracks can form in the tooth - this is from 'Chronic Fatigue'
  • Treatment options vary depending on where and how a tooth cracks

cracked teeth

1: Cracked Cusp

Symptoms (may include):

  • Temperature sensitivity – usually cold
  • Tenderness/pain on biting – especially hard foods eg. crusty bread
  • Chipped tooth – corner of tooth has fractured off

Treatment (may include):

  • Removal of remaining filling and replacement with composite resin or porcelain
  • Filling will replace cusp that has fracture off
  • Filling may cover cracked cusp to protect from further cracking

Example 1:


cracked teeth example 1


  • Sensitivity to cold, the indicated cusp was responsive when testing for cracks during a routine check up
  • Removal of amalgam revealed distinct crack underneath offending cusp
  • Restoration with composite resin to protect cracked cusp and prevent further cracks forming
  • Single appointment

Example 2:

cracked teeth example 2

  • Broken tooth/filling- very large, porcelain was chosen for its strength and durability
  • Amalgam was removed and prepared for a porcelain filling that would protect all cusps
  • Porcelain filling made by local dental technician A2 Dental Labs and colour matched to tooth
  • Porcelain then cemented onto tooth, restoring it aesthetically and providing support and protection
  • Two appointments 1 week apart

2: Cracked Cusp into Pulp

Symptoms (may include): Same as cracked cusp but more severe

  • Temperature sensitivity – heat
  • Pain on chewing – hard or soft foods
  • Spontaneous pain preventing and disrupting sleep

Treatment (may include):

  • Root Canal Treatment followed by restoration of tooth with:
    • Composite Resin
    • Porcelain Onlay
    • Crown (recommended for best long term outcome)
  • Extraction - there are options to replace the tooth including denture, bridge and implant

3: Split Tooth

Symptoms (may include):

  • Pain
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Pain from any pressure
  • Movement from tooth or part of tooth

Treatment (may include):

  • Extraction – due to the severe nature of these splits it is generally not feasible to restore the tooth successfully
  • After extraction there are options to replace the tooth including denture, bridge and implant



split tooth 

  • Tooth broke, half of tooth mobile causing pain with any pressure
  • Tooth split vertically down to the level of the bone
  • Tooth was extracted and now awaiting complete healing for replacement of tooth with single tooth implant

Cracks in teeth are becoming more common due to the number of amalgams placed in the past. Some cracks remain harmless but some have distasterous consequences.

Cracks are unpredictable, they can occur anytime, in any tooth and we cannot predict when, where and how a tooth may crack.

If you have concerns about old large fillings, or if something doesn't feel right give us a call for a consult.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

All images are original, consent has been gained for the use of any images of treatment performed here at Queen Street Dental.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Celebrating the Year of the Horse

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! 

Celebrations for Chinese New Year continue for a whole week, therefore, in honour of the year of the Horse, we are offering, everybody who was born in the year of the Horse (2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930 etc..) Gap-Free checkup, clean, and x-rays for the next week!!

Call us on 8346 1587 for an appointment


I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

For those pearly white smiles because a brighter smile is a brighter you!

It’s the end of the year. You gather with your family and friends. You eat, drink and laugh. And you want to herald in the New Year with a nice bright white smile.

Bleaching is a hot topic at the moment. For those of you who want the Hollywood smile, to those who just want to brighten up their smile and boost your confidence.


Queens Street Dental - Open for Business!

Queens Street Dental - Open for Business!

Welcome to Queen Street Dental, a unique dental practice located on the popular Queen Street in Croydon SA (5kms north-west of Adelaide CBD). We are just off Port Road and South Road, nearby the Croydon train station, and minutes away from the Entertainment Centre. We are adjacent to the popular Queen St Pilates Studio and The Palladeum Hair, and down the road from Queen Street Cafe and Red Door Bakery.

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