Are you a patient in the Sutton area worried about the continuous loss of tooth structure? Are your teeth getting short, chipped and cosmetically unattractive?
Tooth wear is the continuous loss of tooth structure by any method other than dental decay. Is it caused by three main factors? The first two are generally the most common:
This is loss of tooth structure by the contact of teeth to teeth. It can be due to normal function; however, most of the time when you see excess tooth loss, it is caused by tooth grinding and/or a poor bite.
Tooth grinding is a BIG thing!
Think about the normal action of eating: your teeth barely touch each other, as there is often food between them. And if they do touch, it is for a split second with minimal force. In contrast, when you grind your teeth, they are touching for prolonged periods of time with excessive forces. This will almost certainly lead to loss of tooth structure.
This is tooth loss through the action of acids. Acids are consumed routinely as part of normal diet; however, these can be incredibly damaging to teeth. For example, orange juice has a pH of around 3. Cranberry juice is even more acidic at a pH level of 2.3! This means that it’s around 100,000 times more acidic than water!
This is the loss of tooth structure from anything else, which includes things like biting nails or the ends of pencils, or even chewing on hard foods or things like ice cubes, etc.
This can be very damaging to your teeth, so it is important to stop your habits now!
Treatment of tooth wear: what are the solutions?
There are several types of tooth wear treatment. The best approach depends on several factors.
1. Stop the root cause – simple approach
It’s important to determine the cause of the tooth wear to begin with. If the damage is minimal and our aims are to stop the further progression, then the first step is always to try and stop whatever is causing the erosion. For example, if it is occurring because you eat a lot of oranges and apples, we would work out a way to change your dietary habits. You don’t necessarily have to stop eating acidic fruits, just make small changes in terms of timing and the way you eat it.
If tooth wear is due to grinding your teeth, then sometimes a simple mouth guard is the solution.
We can even take a high-tech digital scan of your teeth to show you how much tooth you have lost between visits. See video below.
2. Restore your teeth back to normal – complex approach
This step requires a lot of work, as it often involves treating each tooth in the arch that is affected. The problem with doing just one or two teeth is that the cosmetics will be poor, and you will also get bite issues, so nothing will work. You must improve the bite by restoring a lot of the teeth. If you have dentures, it’s a lot easier as we can increase the bite with those; however, if not, we may need to build up each tooth with either white fillings or onlays/crowns.
The steps involve:
Taking a high-tech digital scan and planning your case out on the computer
Building up all the teeth in temporaries
Test driving the cosmetics and bite for a period of time, which may be many months
Fitting the final teeth
3. Improve the bite by simple alteration of teeth
Sometimes altering your bite slightly can lead to big improvements in the longevity of your teeth. Many dentists are not as well trained in this complex field, so this approach is often ignored.