Are you worried about worn-out teeth? We are here to help
When the enamel of a tooth is worn away, the worn teeth often become sensitive and are more susceptible to decay.
Advanced cases often require crowns to save the teeth.
4 causes of worn teeth
Attrition is the gradual loss of enamel through wear.
Normal speaking and eating may cause a small amount of attrition, but this typically doesn’t produce excessive wear.
More extreme cases of attrition are typically caused by Bruxism, the grinding of teeth against teeth.
Bruxism typically occurs at night while the patient sleeps, so often the patient is unaware of the grinding or enamel loss.
Abrasion is the wearing away of tooth enamel by a foreign object. Common causes of abrasion are:
- Brushing too hard or too long
- Fingernail biting, chewing on pens or pencils, holding needles or pins between the teeth, etc.
- Oral jewellery – Patients with pierced lips and/or tongue often wear away the enamel on adjacent teeth.
Abfraction is the loss of tooth structure where the tooth and gum come together. The damage is wedge-shaped or V-shaped and is unrelated to cavities, bacteria, or infection.
Abfraction is usually painless, but tooth sensitivity can become a problem, especially where heat and cold are concerned.
You may never develop other signs or symptoms, but if the damage continues, it could lead to:
- worn and shiny facets on the tooth, known as translucency
- chipping of the tooth surface
- loss of enamel or exposed dentin
Over time, loss of enamel can make the tooth vulnerable to bacteria and tooth decay. It can affect the structural integrity of the tooth, leading to loosening of the tooth or tooth loss.
Abfraction is caused by long-term stress on the teeth, such as:
- bruxing, also known as teeth grinding
- misalignment of the teeth, also called malocclusion
- mineral loss due to acidic or abrasive factors
Erosion is the chemical wear of tooth enamel.
Typically this kind of wear is caused by an acid. Citric acid is one of the most common agents.
Citrus fruit (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit) contain citric acid, as do most soft drinks and citrus juices (like lemonade).
Some candies also contain citric acid.
Many soft drinks contain additional harmful acids.
Coffee and tea also contain corrosive acids.
Bulimic individuals (people who intentionally and repeatedly induce vomiting) also expose their teeth to very strong stomach acids.
How can I treat Tooth wear?
The damage can’t be reversed, but you can ease tooth sensitivity, improve appearance, and help prevent future damage. Some treatment options are:
- This can be helpful if it’s getting hard to keep your teeth clean or if you have tooth sensitivity due to exposed nerve endings. We can color to match your teeth, so it’s also a good aesthetic option.
- If you clench or grind your teeth at night, we can fit you with a mouth-guard to prevent further damage to your teeth.
- Desensitizing Toothpaste. Toothpaste won’t cure the damage, but certain products can help cut down on tooth sensitivity.
- Realigning your bite can help prevent future damage, which can be especially helpful for younger people.
- Veneers/crowns – can protect your teeth from further damage and also restore the color, shape and size of your teeth, transiting from worn-out teeth to beautifully shaped teeth, restoring your smile and confidence.