Tooth Wear: The What, Why and How
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When your tooth structure wears down, it causes your tooth to appear shorter and less even. The wear typically begins on the outside shell of the tooth, which is known as the enamel. Enamel is known to be the hardest part of the body, but when enough enamel is destroyed, the dentin is exposed and quickly wears away.
What Causes Tooth Wear?
There are a number of factors that are involved in tooth wear, including these three:
- Abrasion – This type of tooth wear occurs when your teeth's structure is scraped or rubbed improperly. This usually occurs by brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles. A couple of other habits that result in abrasion include biting your nails or chewing on pens throughout the day.
- Erosion – This type of wear occurs when the enamel dissolves. This is typically caused by the acid that is contained in sports drinks, energy drinks, sodas and some fruit juices. Snacks with high sugar content can also cause erosion of the tooth's enamel. While it is best to avoid these things, if you do eat or drink a substance that is acidic or sugary, make sure you swish water around in your mouth afterward. You should also try to limit this intake to mealtime.
- Attrition – This type of wear occurs when your teeth come in contact with one another. In some cases, you may not even be aware that you're doing it. An example of this is nighttime grinding or clenching of your teeth.
How Is Tooth Wear Treated?
In order for the tooth wear to be treated, the cause must first be determined. This can be done via a simple examination. Once the root cause has been determined, your dentist will work with you to come up with a plan that will reduce the stress on your teeth. Once this has been dealt with, the tooth structure can be restored via a porcelain crown, veneers or dental bonding.
If you've noticed that your teeth look a little worn down, contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation so that we can get to the root of the problem and restore your smile back to its original beautiful state.