Can Worn Down Teeth Be Fixed?

There are a number of reasons that a patient may experience wearing of the teeth as they age. Though tooth wear is a perfectly normal part of getting older, excessive tooth wear can cause a patient to appear older than they actually are! There are three types of tooth wear that can negatively impact your smile: abrasion, attrition, and erosion.

Abrasion is simply the wearing down that happens due to an external force like brushing too aggressively.

Attrition is dental wear that occurs with tooth on tooth contact, such as bruxism. Bruxism is the unconscious clenching and grinding that many of us do in our sleep and is often an unfortunate side effect of stress. Patients that suffer from bruxism will benefit from a night guard, especially if they have dental restorations. Grinding your teeth can damage enamel, cause jaw pain, and irritate your gum tissue, all in addition to tooth wear. Night guards are custom-made by a dental lab to fit properly and provide a buffer between the occlusal surfaces of your teeth while you sleep.

Erosion is tooth wear that happens due to prolonged exposure to acids. Patients suffering from gastric reflux or bulimia have a lot of trouble with tooth erosion as do those who consume products high in acidity, like citrus juices and carbonated beverages.

What are the treatment options for worn down teeth?

Cosmetic dentistry can rebuild worn down teeth and restore them to their original length, shape, and function! Contouring, bonding, and dental veneers and crowns are great treatment options for patients experiencing excessive tooth wear. Let’s take a closer look at each treatment option.

Cosmetic Contouring

Teeth with small chips or with areas that are worn a bit can be restored with reshaping. Cosmetic contouring does not require anesthetic and is a very conservative and cost-effective option.

Composite Bonding

Composite bonding is a resin material that can be colored to match your natural tooth color. It is most often used to fill a cavity but can also be placed to repair chips and wear. Bonding does not require anesthetic and is also a rather conservative treatment as it does not require additional loss of tooth structure. Even though bonding is very durable, bite force that is applied to anterior teeth when biting into foods and speaking can lead to chipped bonding so this option is best reserved for the posterior teeth.

Porcelain Crowns and Veneers

Severe tooth wear can often be fixed with porcelain crowns and veneers. Crowns are typically reserved for posterior teeth and veneers can be applied to anterior teeth. Veneers cover only the front surface of the tooth so they are only used on the teeth that show when you smile. Crowns cover the entire surface of the tooth above the gum line and can be placed on any tooth.

Without treatment, tooth wear can progress and lead to fractures in the teeth, inflamed gum tissue, and even an infection in the tooth so it is important to visit your dentist as soon as you notice any flat areas on the occlusal surface of your teeth (the surface used for biting and chewing). They will be able to help you decide what treatment is best for your individual case.

Stop Teeth from Wearing Down