Preventing Tooth Wear

Tooth wear is a very common problem in children and adults in the UK. Despite being irreversible, worn teeth are completely treatable and there are plenty of options to help you get back your full smile again.

The first sign of tooth wear is often increased sensitivity or your teeth may start to look rough or chipped. It’s important you act quickly if you notice these symptoms as your teeth can deteriorate quickly if they’re not treated.

There are three types of tooth wear: erosion; attrition and abrasion.

Erosion

Erosion comes as a result of intrinsic or extrinsic acidic sources, which wear the tooth’s enamel and dentine.

  • Extrinsic sources include fizzy/carbonated drinks, fruit juices, citrus fruits etc.
  • Intrinsic sources of acid come from the stomach.

Treatments for this include building up the teeth to replace the missing tooth structure with a tooth coloured resin material (Composite), porcelain veneers or crowns.

Attrition

Attrition is the wear which occurs when we grind or clench our teeth during the day or even in our sleep. This may happen when we are experiencing stress at work or big life changes which cause anxiety.

Some patients may experience jaw and/or muscle pain, together with headaches and tension around the head and neck regions. This is called Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD). The excessive forces on the teeth from the grinding could lead to tooth wear and even fracture.

In order to prevent this we may advise some jaw exercises and remedies to soothe the joint and the surrounding muscles. We may also recommend a specialised mouthguard to stop the grinding or clenching which also relaxes the muscles.

If the tooth structure has been lost, a mouthguard may also be recommended after the teeth have been built up. This is in order to maintain the composites, veneers or crowns for longer.

Abrasion

Abrasion is the type of wear associated with excessive brushing or incorrect brushing technique.

This may lead to the gum moving away from the tooth, exposing the dentine and causing tooth sensitivity. Furthermore, if the trauma continues, it can initiate saucer shaped cavities to be created on the root surface, which will be an aesthetic concern to patients with a high smile.

Usually correction of your brushing technique and sometimes changing the type of toothpaste you use can prevent you from losing further tooth structure. We can recreate the anatomy lost, by filling in these cavities with an aesthetic tooth coloured filling material.

If you feel that you are experiencing symptoms of tooth wear, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment and we can determine the best solution for you.

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