Abnormal tooth wear is the loss of tooth structure that is progressing faster than it should from normal causes such as eating, talking and swallowing. As we get older, the rate at which teeth wear accelerates. Tooth wear causes significant damage and can lead to the need for root canals, crowns or even removal. The cosmetic impact is the visible shortening of the teeth and unpleasant changes in the appearance of your smile. This loss of tooth material can have several causes, all of which can be managed or eliminated to allow your teeth to stay strong and healthy throughout your life.
What Causes Tooth Wear?
Acids in the mouth which slowly dissolve the teeth is one of the most common causes of tooth wear. If you regularly experience heartburn, acid reflux or have been diagnosed with GERD by a physician you are at high risk for tooth wear. Another cause of abnormal wear comes from touching, rubbing or grinding the teeth together. This can occur during sleep, but also during daytime with activities as common as driving and working at a computer.
How Do You Treat Tooth Wear?
The treatment recommended will depend on the cause of your tooth wear. For patients with acid erosion we may recommend dietary changes, medication for your reflux or special mints and special toothpaste that reduce the acidity of your saliva. Abrasive toothpastes and overly vigorous scrubbing with a toothbrush can also remove vital tooth structure. We can help you keep your smile healthy and bright by recommending products and techniques that are gentle and non-abrasive. If the cause is grinding or clenching your teeth the recommendation will be to wear a small, comfortable custom mouthguard or TMJ appliance to protect them.