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Are Your Teeth Worn Down?

Posted on 11/25/2015 by Raymond Liu
A woman suffering from worn down teeth, due to excessively grinding her teeth!Do your teeth appear duller than usual, or do they feel different? Perhaps the ridges of the chewing surfaces are flat when they were once prominent? Your teeth may be wearing down, and there are a variety of causes and potential treatment options that you should explore.

What Cause Your Teeth to Wear Down?

There are three main types of wear that may occur on your teeth:

•  Attrition. This is known as tooth-on-tooth wear that occurs on the biting edges. It is caused by excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth.
•  Abrasion. This type of wear occurs through aggressive brushing efforts, and it often affects the necks and sides of the teeth.
•  Erosion. This tooth structure loss comes through acid erosion due to consuming acidic foods and beverages. Acid reflux disease and bulimia could also cause wear as a result of erosion.

As previously noted, bruxism is one of the greatest causes of worn teeth. In many cases, teeth grinders do this at night, so it is not an action that they control. Stress is often the culprit, and in order to prevent grinding and damage to the teeth, most dentists will recommend patients wear custom night guards in order to protect the teeth from coming into contact with each other.

What Are the Signs of Worn Down Teeth?

If you suspect that your teeth may have worn down, there are some signs that you can look for that may indicate damage:

•  Increased tooth sensitivity to temperatures or certain foods, especially sweets
•  Tooth enamel that appears thinned, exposing deeper layers of the tooth
•  Discoloration, as more dentin will be exposed as the enamel erodes
•  Cupping or indentations that appear on the surfaces of the teeth
•  Tooth surfaces that appear flattened
•  Teeth that have become chipped, fractured, or broken

It is also important to note that when the teeth suffer from wear, especially when that wear is due to erosion, they will become more susceptible to both tooth decay and cavities. While a small cavity may not pose a major problem at first, if allowed to grow, the cavity can affect the nerves, resulting in pain, infection, or even an abscess.

How Can You Treat Teeth that Have Worn Down?

If your dentist establishes that your teeth have, in fact, been worn down, treatment options can be discussed. Treatment may be completed just using one type of procedure, or for severe wear, multiple steps may be needed:

•  Restorative work. Ceramic dental restorations, including fillings, veneers, and dental crowns, can be damaged when your teeth wear down. These restorations will need to be repaired in order to fully protect the structure, function, and appearance of your teeth. Likewise, worn or broken teeth can be fitted with new restorations.
•  Orthodontic treatment. If the source of your tooth wear and broken teeth is due to crooked and misaligned teeth, orthodontic work can correct these problems. Contact your dentist to see which orthodontic option would be best for you.
•  Bonding. If you experience a minor chip, cosmetic tooth bonding can restore the natural appearance of your tooth in as little as one visit.

In addition to the treatment option used to repair the damage, you'll also want to discuss what caused the issue in the first place. If erosion was the culprit, you may need to change the way you brush, switch to a less abrasive toothpaste, or minimize your consumption of acidic foods and drinks. As previously noted, if bruxism is the cause of the problem, you should consider investing in a night guard or a mouth guard to wear throughout the day.

If you are concerned that your teeth are wearing down, contact our office for an evaluation.
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