Teeth can wear down naturally with age and use, but this can happen more rapidly as a result of your diet, bad habits, orthodontic issues or for other reasons.
Worn teeth can be more prone to damage, feel sensitive and affect your appearance, but your dentist can discuss treatments to rebuild worn teeth and restore your smile.
Different types of tooth wear
Teeth can wear down in different ways, categorised by dentists as abrasion, attrition or erosion. Your dentist will determine the type of tooth wear you have when they examine your mouth. They can then narrow down the cause or causes and recommend suitable treatments.
Tooth wear due to external physical force, usually caused by brushing teeth too roughly, using a toothbrush with hard bristles, or using sharp objects such as toothpicks to remove food from your teeth.
Tooth wear due to contact with other teeth. This may happen if the biting surface of your teeth is uneven due to an orthodontic issue or irregular teeth, crowns or fillings, or if you grind or clench your teeth (bruxism).
Tooth wear due to acids in the mouth. These acids may be present in food and drink (such as vinegar, fruit juices, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks), may be released by bacteria that build up in plaque (tooth decay), or may be stomach acids that contact the teeth through frequent vomiting or gastric reflux.
Treatments for worn teeth
If your dentist notices signs of teeth wear when they examine your mouth, they will discuss the different treatment options, what they involve and how much they cost, so you can decide what's best for you.
Minor to moderate tooth wear may be treated by rebuilding the tooth using a composite resin, similar to a filling. This resin can be matched to your natural tooth colour and is carefully applied in layers, hardened and polished to look and function like tooth enamel.
After your teeth have been repaired, your dentist will provide a dental splint to wear over your teeth at night and protect them from further wear and damage.
How to prevent tooth wear
Not all tooth wear and erosion can be avoided, but you could lower your risk of needing treatments by:
- Cutting down on food and drink high in sugar and acids
- Using a straw and not holding acidic drinks in your mouth
- Eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water, especially fluoridated tap water
- Brushing your teeth more gently and using a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Not using toothpicks or other sharp objects in your mouth
- Trying to avoid stress or other causes of teeth grinding
- Talking to your doctor about treatments for acid reflux or other conditions
- Talking to your dentist about treatments for teeth grinding, crooked teeth or other problems
- Seeing a dentist twice a year for your regular check-up
Treating tooth wear in Everton Park and Mitchelton
If you're worried about worn teeth and want to know what your options are, book an appointment at your nearest Swish Dental clinic in Brisbane.