One of the most common causes of teeth reducing in size or chipping can be due to tooth wear. Prevention is very important to avoid it, unless it has already occurred, then treatments may be required. Tooth wear basically means where the protective layers of your teeth have slowly been destroyed, this can be due to a few factors, such as trauma, or from some acidic drinks and foods, or even grinding your teeth.
Tooth wear can happen at any age, but mainly in adults, recent research found that males had a higher chance of forming tooth wear than females.
In this day and age, tooth wear is becoming more common in every day patients that we treat. This is because more patients are looking after the health of their teeth, resulting in them using them for everyday use for many years, up to old age. You may have heard your dentist talking about erosion, attrition and abrasion; these are more in depth forms of tooth wear.
What types of tooth wear are there?
Erosion – Tooth erosion is caused by foods and drinks we consume in our everyday life. As you may know already, some types of foods contain more acid than others, some natural acids and some not so natural. For example, fizzy drinks contain a lot of acid, fruit juices also contain acid, even whole fruits. Its better for your teeth to keep to the natural drinks and foods, such as whole fruits, as they contain natural acids and sugars, or if you want to be extra precocious, still water is the best solution for tooth wear, as it contains 0% acid. Pickled foods also contact a lot of acid, and a big acid attack drink is energy drinks. Of Corse you have to have what you enjoy now and again, so we suggest to have these acidic foods/drinks as a treat now and again, rather than every day or more than once every day, this will reduce the amount of acid latching onto your teeth and destroying tooth surfaces.
Attrition – Tooth attrition, mentioned above, is another case of tooth wear, although this isn’t caused by foods and drinks. Tooth attrition is caused by grinding of your teeth, also known as bruxism. Grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, and in most cases, the grinding occurs during your sleep, so most patients are not even aware they are doing it. Some patients notice that they wake up with an achy jaw, or sensitive teeth. But not to worry, there are things your dentist can do to help, such as making you a night guard. A night guard is a hard wearing plastic appliance, which is worn overnight, to protect your teeth, so instead of your teeth wearing away at each other, it will wear away at the plastic. This appliance really works great and proves amazing results in preventing further attrition.
Abrasion – The last form of tooth wear is called tooth abrasion. Tooth abrasion is caused by incorrect techniques used when maintaining the health of your mouth. Such as incorrect tooth brushing methods. You may think this sounds silly, as in how many ways can one brush their teeth. We always recommend our patients to brush with a soft toothbrush in circular motions. Some patients will be using a toothbrush which is too hard for your gums and teeth, destroying the tissues and protective layers on your teeth. Also some patients brush their teeth in a backwards and forwards technique, we do not advise this, as research has found it’s so abrasive it can brush away gum tissue. So to avoid tooth abrasion, stick to a soft toothbrush, and brush in circular motions. Or even some of the latest electric toothbrushes have a sensor installed in them, to tell you if you’re applying too much pressure. We advise to use whatever works for you.
Signs of toothwear
The signs of enamel erosion can vary, depending on the stage. Some signs may include:
Sensitivity. Certain foods (sweets) and temperatures of foods (hot or cold) may cause a twinge of pain in the early stage of enamel erosion.
Discoloration. As the enamel erodes and more dentin is exposed, the teeth may appear yellow.
Cracks and chips. The edges of teeth become more rough, irregular, and jagged as enamel erodes.
Severe, painful sensitivity. In later stages of enamel erosion, teeth become extremely sensitive to temperatures and sweets. You may feel a painful jolt that takes your breath away.
Cupping. Indentations appear on the surface of the teeth.
Shortening of the teeth
Treatments for attrition
Many people clench and grind their teeth. The forces involved on the teeth, jaw-joints and facial muscles are huge and this can lead to headaches, broken teeth, discomfort when eating, clicking in the jaw, and even be a cause of migraine. If you are having any of these problems you should see us to discuss them and for treatment if necessary. Clenching and grinding can be a habit to help us deal with our stressful lives and we encourage our patients to become aware of this habit. This alone can help reduce the problem. We also provide mouthguards which stop night clenching and its effects. Research has shown that some people are hardwired to grind and clench their teeth and for them the important thing is to protect the teeth from the effects of this continual process- this is also treated with the provision of an anti-clenching splint.
Treatments for tooth wear
– Composite fillings/bonding
Dental bonding is a technique that has been used in cosmetic dentistry for many years and can transform your smile in just a single visit. The process involves the skilful/artistic use of the correct amount and colour of “dental composite”, which is a mouldable material with a paste-like consistency made from acrylic resins and a variety of fillers, depending on the type used. Bonding is used for a variety of cosmetic dental procedures
Veneers are wafer-thin lamintates or shells of tooth-coloured material (which can be either porcelain, ceramic or composite bonding material). They are “cemented” to the front surface of teeth to improve their cosmetic appearance. Many dentists use the analogy that dental veneers are for your teeth what false fingernails are for your hands.
Treatments for erosion
Changing your diet habits
Something as simple as changing your dietary habits can help stabilize or prevent erosion. Cutting down on sugary foods, fizzy drinks and citric acid along with the correct oral hygiene routine can keep erosion at bay.
At Perfect Smile Spa we offer a range of general and cosmetic treatments. Call at 01708442114 today to book your free consulation with Dr Jas Sagoo.