We've put together the ultimate guide to on how to treat tooth wear.
The top causes of tooth wear
Tooth wear occurs because of different factors such as tooth grinding, acid erosion or incorrect toothbrushing techniques. It is extremely common and can affect almost all people to varying degrees. Very small amounts of toothwear over a lifetime is relatively normal but if it happens too quickly or severely, it can result in broken, chipped or worn teeth. It can also change the colour by making them look darker or even grey on the edges. Losing enamel can also cause sensitivity of the teeth or affect the way the teeth bite together. In severe cases, the teeth wear down so much, they can’t be seen on smiling.
Tooth grinding (bruxism) is very common and occurs in 31% of adults and is classed as severe in 12%. It can be exacerbated by stress and 67% of those who grind their teeth during the night, are unaware that they do so. It puts stress on the jaw joint (TMJ) and muscles and is linked with Temporomandibular Disorder which can give pain in the muscles and jaw in the head and neck, clicking or popping noises in the jaw joint, reduced opening(trismus) and headaches. These high forces generated can also cause fractures of the teeth and sometimes these teeth are unable to be restored because the crack extends through the root.
Acid erosion of the enamel can be caused by too frequent exposure to dietary acids. It tends to be a combination of different things such as fruit juice, fizzy drinks or lemon in water. It can also be caused by acid reflux or heartburn.
What can I do to stop my teeth wearing?
Identifying what’s causing the tooth wear is the first step to prevent further wear. A full dental assessment can identify the tooth wear pattern and therefore the cause.
Making lifestyle changes to reduce how often you have acidic food and drinks is a simple way that you can take to stop tooth wear. Switching fruit teas to chamomile or mint or putting cucumber in your water bottle instead of lemon. A mouthguard can also be worn to stop the tooth being worn from night-time grinding and reduce stress fractures on the teeth. The use of fluoride toothpastes and Tooth-Mousse can also help.
How can I fix my worn teeth?
After identifying what’s causing the wear, there are options to rebuild the surfaces of the teeth. This can vary from a very straightforward addition of white filling material (composite bonding) on the worn front teeth to restoring all of the teeth to close to their original height. Composite bonding involves cleaning the teeth to add white filling to the tooth surface to replace what’s lost. It rebuilds the teeth to their original height and dramatically improves the appearance of the teeth. Therefore it’s very minimally invasive and adds on rather than drills away any further tooth enamel.
In more severe case, further treatment is needed if a person’s bite (occlusion) has been severely affected. This may involve placing crowns or onlays on the teeth or replacing missing teeth with implants, bridges or dentures.