If you’ve never heard of molar cupping, you are not alone. It is a term used to describe the presence of indentions or craters on the surfaces of the back teeth (molars). While molar cupping is not frequently talked about, it always needs to be addressed if it appears. Molar cupping is often a sign of acid erosion or teeth grinding. In either situation, you may need to alter some habits to prevent subsequent damage.
Molar cupping can be diagnosed by simply looking at your molars. However, since you may not always give these back teeth a close inspection, a dentist is typically the one to find molar cupping. In addition to appearance, patients may also find that their teeth fit together differently when they bite down, or they may have loose dental fillings. Fortunately, there are restorative procedures designed to rebuild your teeth after molar cupping, but you’ll need to determine the cause if you want a long-term solution.
The Cause of “Dental Potholes”
Acid erosion is the most likely culprit to molar cupping. If you consume highly acidic foods and drinks on a regular basis, the enamel of your teeth can begin to wear away. As a point of reference, any food or drink below 5.5 on the pH scale can damage your tooth enamel (which is the outer surface of your tooth). Examples are sodas, wine, pickles and citrus fruits. Saliva and water help to rinse away harmful acids on your teeth and neutralize your mouth pH, so grab a glass of water or a stick of sugarless gum after you indulge in something acidic. If not, these acids can sit on the back molars and eventually cause cupping.
It is also possible that the acid that causes craters in your back molars is coming from your stomach. People who suffer from acid reflux often have evidence of their condition in their mouth. In such cases, a physician’s help may be needed to restore your digestive health and prevent future molar cupping.
While acid can certainly do a number on your teeth, molar cupping can also be due to mechanical abrasion, such as teeth grinding. Such excessive forces and rubbing on the chewing surfaces of your teeth can produce molar cupping as well as TMJ disorders. A nighttime mouthguard can protect your teeth in this situation.
At Gilreath Family Dentistry, we treat your smile with the highest standard of care. If we notice signs of molar cupping during your routine dental exam, we will recommend a restorative treatment as well as discuss potential reasons for the damage. Molar cupping can occur in children and as well adults.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,