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Are soft teeth further damaged by aggressive scraping by a hygenist?
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Are soft teeth further damaged by aggressive scraping by a hygenist?

I suffer from severely soft enamel on my teeth. I'm not, nor have I ever been bulimic, I do not suffer from acid reflux, and I do not chew icecubes or suck lemons, I have no medical conditions and am in excellent health, and my mother did not take any drugs, prescription or otherwise, while she was pregnant with me (all things that could cause such severe erosion.) My problems are simply genetic.

But here's what I'm wondering-with enamel as soft as mine (my dentist has "diagnosed" it as being just slightly above the softest level of enamel possible) could the hard scrapings from cleaning tools actually WORSEN my chipped and eroded enamel? The hygenist wasn't the greatest I've ever had, and as she's questioning me about if I crunch on hard candies or crunch on ice, I feel her picking and scraping so hard at my teeth that I swear she was flaking off enamel rather than just tartar. I put a flashlight to my teeth last week, and noticed my lower back molars also have a couple of enamel holes that weren't there before that last cleaning.  Also, just yesterday I had to go in to have 20 and 29 built up and bonded (I also have 11 crowns), because after that last cleaning TWO months ago they suddenly started to wear down at a rapid rate after being fine before, (not great but they weren't all gouged out like they were right after the cleaning.)

I see my dentist again in June to check these latest bondings; perhaps I should discuss with him the damage that is possibly being caused to my teeth right in his office by his hygenists. I'm wondering if hard scrapings during my cleanings should not be continued.  Could it be beneficial to insist the hygenists stop the hard scrapings?  I think I should mention it have no hygiene issues either.  I have no decay or cavities, which my dentist says is because of MY OWN excellent care of them (I brush correctly regularly and floss thoroughly once or twice a day).
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
The hygienist is not the problem with your teeth.
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
"soft enamel" is a myth in my opinion---"soft" is not the right word.. if enamel is not formed correctly when a tooth is developing, it may be prone to breakdown. "malformed" is a better word than "soft". Overzealous scraping can damage any enamel, but i seriously doubt it could have caused in such a short time the need for fillings that other wise would not have been needed. In my experience it is not possible to "flake off" -- scratch it or chip a thin enamel edge, yes, but not flake it off. If you have such good homecare, you are right that the hygienist should not need to scrape so hard (unless he or she is planing the roots smooth, which by the way is dentin, not enamel, and which you shouldn't be needing unless you have gum disease.)
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks Mike, that helps.  Just to clarify "soft" was my own word.  My dentist describes it to me pretty much the same way you did.

It's good to know that the damage isn't completely caused by the regular cleanings.  I do find that some hygenists seems rougher than others, though.
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Jerome Tsang, DDSBlank
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