Are you struggling with the function or appearance of worn teeth? Teeth that are worn down can cause further dental problems and even lead to tooth sensitivity, as well as being something that may affect the confidence you have in your smile. Fortunately, there are treatments available to address worn teeth in order to prevent further dental issues and restore confidence in your smile.
Are Your Teeth Worn Down?
Identifying worn teeth can help people who are living with this issue to better understand if they require treatment in order to prevent further dental issues. Signs and symptoms of worn teeth may include:
Chips and broken teeth – worn teeth are more at risk of becoming chipped or broken
Tooth sensitivity – worn teeth are more likely to become sensitive due to worn-down enamel which is the protective layer of the tooth
Yellowing teeth – since worn teeth are stripped of enamel, the darker (yellow) interior portion of the tooth is exposed. This is the Dentin layer. The dentin layer is the portion of the tooth that is closest to the nerve.
Smaller teeth – worn teeth can be smaller than normal, which can be a sign that they need to be addressed with treatment. This also creates a more square and less attractive appearance of the teeth.
Why Are My Teeth Worn Down?
There are a few different things that can lead to the wearing down of teeth. Some of the causes of worn teeth include:
- grinding of the teeth
- acidic enamel erosion
- toothbrush abrasion
- tooth trauma
Worn Teeth Caused by Grinding
Grinding of the teeth usually happens when a person is sleeping, but tooth grinding can also be a result of habit brought on by anxiety and also done while awake due to certain prescription medications. Grinding teeth together can lead to worn teeth as the friction eventually wears away tooth enamel and even the tooth itself. Grinding of the teeth can also lead to other issues like migraines, pain surrounding the jaw, and cracked or broken teeth. Treatment for teeth grinding typically involves creating a custom mouthguard that patients can wear while they’re sleeping to reduce the impacts of teeth grinding during sleeping hours.
Worn Teeth Caused by Acidic Enamel Erosion
Tooth enamel is the outer, protective layer of the tooth. Erosion of tooth enamel is typically caused by eating and drinking things that contain acid, like wine, coffee, juice, and citrus fruits over a long period of time. Once tooth enamel is eroded, there is no way to replace it. Only dental treatments can help. So, the best course of action is to prevent enamel erosion by limiting foods and beverages that are high in acid content. And, brushing teeth often using toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Worn teeth Caused by Toothbrush abrasion.
Improper brushing, using a brush that is too stiff, or the combination of both of these can lead to toothbrush abrasion. Your dental team can help to teach you proper brushing techniques as well as proper brush selection.
Worn Teeth Caused by Tooth Trauma
Trauma to the teeth that leads to worn down teeth is typically caused by chewing on things that are not food. This can include biting nails, eating ice cubes, opening soda cans or other objects with the teeth, etc. Even chewing on ice can cause increased trauma.
Worn Teeth Caused by Age
Although age specifically isn’t a cause for tooth wear, it does allow for an increased timeframe for the other causes to wreak havoc on your teeth. Eating, drinking, and living all take a toll on your teeth. So, over time, many people find that their teeth are worn from natural causes and age. While we can do things to prevent the impact that acidic foods and abrasion have on our teeth, over time, our teeth are just naturally impacted by a lifetime of use.
Available Treatment Options to Address Worn Teeth
Fortunately, there are a number of dental treatment options that individuals can consider in order to address worn-down teeth. Some dental treatment options that address worn teeth include:
Night Guard: Often the simplest option is to just make an acrylic guard that allows you to wear into the acrylic rather than your enamel. A custom nightguard also helps to build in the proper bite which in turn decreases the force and amount of grinding or clenching your bite is attempting.
Dental Veneers: Dental veneers are a good option for people who are experiencing worn teeth that aren’t affected by decay or have had decay already addressed through treatment. Veneers are a cosmetic solution that can last many years and provide a natural-looking smile.
Dental Crowns: Dental crowns can be applied to worn teeth and look and feel just like natural teeth. A dental crown is made by measuring the natural tooth and using these measurements to construct the crown for a perfect fit.
Dental Implants: If tooth decay has infected the roots of the tooth, the tooth may need to be removed. In this case, dental implants can be applied to the gum line. After healing, dental implants can be used to attach cosmetic tooth replacements that are constructed out of porcelain. Dental implants are a great way to effectively replace teeth that are no longer functional so that individuals can have a natural-looking and functional teeth again.