Treating Worn Down Teeth

As unpleasant as it sounds, tooth wear is a perfectly normal part of aging! Everyday wear and tear causes the teeth to become smaller and darker in appearance and often leads to flat surfaces where there once were grooves and fissures. Excessive tooth wear can have a negative impact on your smile, your bite, and your self esteem. Types of tooth wear include attrition, abrasion, and erosion.

Each type is caused by different factors which can be internal or external. There are a few different treatment options for tooth wear and your dentist will determine which will be best for your individual case, depending on the severity of tooth wear. Treatment options include contouring, dental bonding, and porcelain crowns and veneers.

Types of Tooth Wear

Attrition is caused by tooth-to-tooth contact, the effects of which are typically contained to the occlusal surface of the tooth, the edge that we use to chew. Bruxism is the unconscious grinding many of us do in our sleep, often caused by stress, and is one of the biggest factors that can lead to worn teeth.

Abrasion is the wearing of the teeth by an external force, most often overly aggressive brushing, nail biting, and using a hard-bristle toothbrush. Abrasion is often indicated by wear at the gumline and can be restored using composite bonding or porcelain restorations.

Erosion is most often caused by acidic foods and drinks but patients that suffer from bulimia or gastric reflux often have a lot of trouble with tooth erosion as well. Repeated exposure to stomach acids eats away at tooth enamel and can eventually cause a lot of sensitivity and decay. Teeth affected by erosion can be restored using dental bonding or porcelain restorations.

Treating Worn Down Teeth

Cosmetic contouring is the least invasive treatment option, ideal for very minor wear and can typically be completed in one quick visit where your dentist will simply smooth the affected areas. That’s it!

Composite bonding is a tooth-colored restoration that can be molded to fill any space. Bonding uses the same material that is used to treat small cavities and fractures or spaces in the teeth.

Porcelain crowns and veneers can also be used to treat more severe cases of tooth wear. A crown fits over the entire structure of the tooth above the gum line and can be placed on any tooth. Veneers are very thin and only cover the front surface that shows when you smile and are reserved for the front teeth only. Crowns and veneers can restore form and function to even the most extreme case of tooth wear!

Tooth wear can quickly lead to further deterioration as well as other long-term issues including sensitivity, deterioration of existing tooth restorations, and even infection. This is why it is important to notify your dentist as soon as you notice any tooth wear. Untreated dental issues only become more severe and more expensive to treat! Your dentist will determine what type of restorative treatment will be best for you and your lifestyle!

Veneers and Worn Down Teeth