Enamel Formation is More Complex Than You Think

When the dentist tells you that you have some areas on your teeth that are either low on enamel and that you should take better care, brush more often, or floss twice a day, you might roll your eyes a bit and sigh quietly to yourself when you leave the office.

But the reality is that enamel formation is a multi-layered and complex biological process that is difficult to simulate or repair, and preventing further decay is your best defense, rather than trying to repair the hole with different methods.

Enamel is formed by a single layer of cells called ameloblasts. If you remember the name of the cell and casually mention it in a conversation with your dentist, they are sure to be impressed. Anyway, the ameloblasts work between the dentin and the enamel, depositing enamel as they move outward. This very organized action, which includes a scaffolding and mineralization process, continues while being protected by bone and surrounded by tooth follicle. When the cells make their way to the surface, they die and you probably unknowingly eat them or something.

Scientists have had trouble replicating this complex enamel forming process in the lab. Now imagine replicating it on a tooth that is in a mouth, dealing with a constant barrage of bacteria, chewing food, and temperature changes.

So when it comes down to it, your best bet is to protect what you have. If you let your enamel wear away, you will need a much more dramatic operation. Although getting a cavity filled or a root canal may not seem dramatic, its much more extreme than two quality sessions of brushing and flossing!