Tooth wear is also known as a progressive loss of a tooth’s surface, which may be caused by various factors. There are different types of tooth wear, such as erosion, abrasion, attrition and abfraction.
Erosion is a loss of the tooth’s outer layer due to acids involving no bacteria. It may occur with excessive consumption of acidic beverages (fizzy drinks) and foods (including fruit, chewable vitamins). Another reason for erosion is stomach acid caused by vomiting.
Once the enamel has been damaged, it can open up a pathway for cavities to form, leading to more serious dental issues.
Abrasion is the physical wear-down caused by materials such as a hard toothbrush and excessive amounts of toothpaste, which may remove the softer layer of your teeth. Bad habits such as nail-biting or chewing the top of your pen can also work as a destructive force on your teeth.
To avoid such risks, it is best to use a soft toothbrush and smaller amounts of toothpaste, as well as avoid brushing your teeth right after consuming any acidic foods and drinks. We recommend that you brush your teeth before breakfast and before bedtime and wait at least an hour after eating/drinking anything acidic.
Attrition is most common among older people, although it may occur when there’s a combination of erosion and abrasion which can cause severe damage to your teeth. It is also quite common in people who grind or clench their teeth, and it can result in wear on the cusps and ridges.
Abfraction is the chipping and loss of a tooth’s substance, caused by badly fractured tooth tissue when it’s undergone large amounts of stress. These may be influenced by eating, biting, chewing, grinding and clenching.
Tooth wear can be treated with various procedures, depending on the severity of the damage. Some individuals may benefit from a simple filling, while others may require crowns, veneers or bonding. Some patients may require orthodontic treatment to realign their teeth in order to prevent any further damage.
However, other methods may also benefit some patients by prevention of the damage (change of diet, relaxation habits that prevent you from chewing inedible objects, improved brushing techniques). If you are particularly prone to grinding your teeth, your dentist may suggest fitting a mouth guard.
At Lenham Dental, we may suggest you wear a Michigan splint over your teeth during your sleep, but this would be discussed during your consultation.
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