How to Fix Worn Down Teeth | 3 Solutions

How to Fix Worn-Down Teeth

When subjected to stress for a long, your teeth tend to wear down. Wearing down of teeth not only affects your smile but also your self-esteem and quality of life. If you notice signs of wear in your teeth, you have come to the right place. This article will discuss what are worn-down teeth, what causes them, and, more importantly, how to fix them. 

What Causes Worn-Down Teeth?

When the structural integrity of your teeth is compromised due to any factor, it is called the wearing down of teeth. Although some degree of tooth wear occurs naturally, it is primarily caused by habits that harm teeth.

Attrition

Attrition is the wear and tear of occlusal surfaces of teeth by tooth to tooth contact. Some people have a habit of forcefully clenching or grinding their teeth throughout the day and at night. This habit is called bruxism. Bruxism leads to the wearing down of the outer layer of the tooth (enamel) and even Temporomandibular Joint problems

The primary cause of bruxism is not identified in all cases. However, it is considered to be generally triggered by stress. Using mouthguards during sleeping is an effective way of dealing with bruxism. 

Abrasion

Abrasion refers to tooth wear caused by external factors such as hard toothbrush bristles and chewing objects that are not meant to be chewed. Certain habits that can lead to tooth abrasion include nail biting, ice chewing, pen or pencil chewing, etc. 

People tend to experience more abrasion as they age due to eating hard foods and using abrasive tooth-cleaning products. According to the National Library of Medicine, tooth wear increased from 3% to 17% when recorded in people aged 20 and then 70.

Erosion

Erosion is a process that involves the dissolving of the outermost teeth layer, the enamel. It is among the most common factors that cause worn-down teeth. Several factors cause erosion of teeth, such as:

Acidic Foods & Beverages:

Generally, erosion of teeth is caused by the consumption of acidic foods and beverages. Some of them are: 

  • Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, tangerines)
  • Fizzy drinks 
  • Tomatoes
  • Fruit juices
  • Vinegar

Stomach Acids:

Erosion is also caused by stomach acid. Medical conditions such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Bulimia Nervosa involve increased vomiting. Vomitus comprises undigested food and stomach acid. When it comes in contact with your teeth, it breaks down the structural integrity of enamel, causing it to erode. That is why dentists prevent you from brushing soon after vomiting or having a fizzy drink.

Decreased Salivary Flow:

Due to its pH, saliva in the mouth acts as a weak base. It neutralizes acids in the mouth and maintains a neutral environment inside the oral cavity. People who suffer from Xerostomia (dry mouth) or use medications that cause dry mouth are likelier to have eroded teeth. 

Abfraction

Abfraction is wedge-shaped tooth wear near the cervical area of the tooth. Unlike abrasion, abfraction is caused by occlusal compressive or biomechanical loading forces, causing stress over the cervical third of the tooth, leading to its breakage. You might notice abfraction when food gets stuck in the depression. 

What are the Symptoms of Worn-Down Teeth?

Detecting tooth wear early is necessary for prompt management. Following are the common symptoms of worn-down teeth.

  • Increased sensitivity – Wearing down teeth exposes the dentinal tubules, causing tooth hypersensitivity
  • Visual deformity – Wear and tear of teeth can be visualized if looked at closely. 
  • Color changes – The second layer of teeth (dentine) is slightly darker than the enamel. So, if your teeth have worn down, they will appear darker. 
  • Bite changes – The normal anatomy of your teeth decides how they align with each other. If worn, their anatomy is compromised, changing alignment. 

How to Fix Worn-Down Teeth?

Experts have developed several restorative treatment options to treat worn-down teeth and restore your confidence. They include,

Resin Bonding

Resin bonding or composite buildup is a direct restoration that involves restoring your tooth’s natural anatomy by placing tooth-colored composite material over it. It is the same material that is used in dental fillings. Dentists can use this technique to restore a loss of 0.5 mm or less. A defect larger than that would require another treatment modality. 

If you opt for resin bonding, your dentist will apply bonding cement on the affected area and then use composite to replicate the natural tooth shape. This entire process can be completed in a single appointment.

Crowns

When the defect in your tooth is more than 0.5mm, your dentist will suggest you get a crown. Crowns are like caps for your teeth. They are used in teeth that have been severely decayed or worn down. They cover all the surfaces of your teeth, masking defects everywhere. 

If you wish to get a crown, your dentist will first file down the remaining upper layer of your tooth to create space for a crown. Then, they will record an impression and send it to a lab to make your prosthesis. Once made, they will bond it to your tooth with cement and cure it. Unlike resin bonding, crowns require multiple appointments. 

Veneers

Veneers are the most aesthetically pleasing option. They are porcelain stickers that bond to the facial surfaces of your teeth, masking any chips, cracks, or imperfections. Veneers are mainly used to restore the look of front teeth.

If you decide to get veneers, the dentist will first file down the front surface of your anterior teeth for better adhesion. After that, they will record an impression of the teeth and send it to a lab. Once made, they will place veneers on your teeth with the help of bonding cement. This, too, will require multiple appointments. 

Conclusion

Worn-down teeth not only look bad but also compromise your regular functioning. Recognizing them early is imperative for timely management and preventing complications. With the advent of cosmetic dentistry, dental experts have made it more accessible through resin bonding, crowns, and veneers.

If you notice signs of worn-down teeth, contact us at Dr. Arthur Yeh & Associates. Our dental experts in Montclair, NJ, will conduct detailed examinations and offer prompt treatment. So schedule an appointment now with the best dentists in Montclair, NJ.  

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