Tooth wear is the degradation of dental surfaces that leads to weakened teeth. When a tooth is worn down, patients have higher risks of developing chipped and cracked teeth along with tooth decay. Tooth wear requires professional treatment from a dentist including restorations like fillings and crowns. Sometimes, root canal therapy might be necessary to preserve teeth if tooth wear is especially severe.
Following are common causes of tooth wear.
When teeth make improper contact over a long period of time (attrition), people can develop severe tooth wear. Sometimes teeth make improper contact during meals if they are misaligned. A common cause of tooth wear by attrition is the habit of grinding or clenching teeth (bruxism). Grinding and clenching teeth can significantly weaken teeth and strip away their enamel surfaces.
Untreated tooth decay produces the appearance of worn teeth. Since a tooth cannot heal on its own, tooth decay will only worsen until a tooth is professionally treated with a restoration.
Teeth can be worn down when exposed to strong acids, which strips away the mineral content of tooth enamel. People who struggle with frequent acid reflux or those with bulimia can develop tooth wear when acid breaks down the surfaces of teeth. It’s important that patients with eroded teeth maintain vigilant oral hygiene, avoid acidic foods and beverages, and drink plenty of water to protect their teeth.
Abrasion is another common culprit behind tooth wear. Examples of abrasion include brushing too vigorously and using one’s teeth as tools to open packages. Using a toothbrush with stiff, hard bristles is abrasive as well. Choose soft-bristled toothbrushes and clean your teeth with gentle, circular motions.
Oral piercings contribute to tooth wear, too, because their metal pieces making repeated contact with teeth abrasively degrade dental structures.
If you struggle with acid reflux, brush too vigorously, or have habits like bruxism, practicing meticulous oral hygiene and visiting your dentist for routine checkups can help you safeguard your oral health. Call Kozlow & Rowell Dentistry to make an appointment for a checkup or cleaning.