Worn Teeth

Worn Teeth

What are worn teeth?

Teeth are covered by a protective hard layer known as enamel. enamel provides protection from hot and cold food and drinks. The enamel can be worn down and this is diagnosed as worn teeth.

Worn teeth are very common, especially in older people. Worn teeth are the result of three distinct causes, often in combination.

  • Attrition: This is tooth-to-tooth wear on the biting edges of the teeth caused by daily grinding or clenching.
  • Abrasion: This type of tooth wear occurs from brushing too harshly and aggressively which usually affects the sides and necks of the teeth.
  • Erosion: This loss of tooth structure (enamel and dentine) caused by chronic acidic foods and drinks consumption. Sometimes conditions like regular acid reflux or bulimia will also result in dental erosion.

It is important to first determine the main cause of your teeth wear. 

Excessive attrition may be related to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Treatments for TMD related tooth wear may involve behavioral therapy, night splint use and myotherapy to ease muscle tension. 

Abrasion related wear needs to be identified as early as possible. Changing to a soft toothbrush and modifying brushing techniques can reduce further dentine wear.
For patients who consume a large quantity of acidic food and drinks, a dietary modification will be beneficial. Medical attentions should be sought if you suspect acid reflux is at play.

Tooth wear only worsen over time, especially when the underlying cause is not diagnosed or treated. More complex dental work will be required when severe forms of dental wear occurs. These may involve multiple root canal treatments and crowns or bridges to restore the lost tooth volume. It is always better to identify and prevent tooth wear than to treat it when it is left for too long.


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