Veneers and Worn Down Teeth

There are three types of tooth wear that can have a negative impact on patients in different ways. Attrition, abrasion, and erosion are common and can become progressively worse if not treated in a timely manner.

Attrition is a result of tooth-to-tooth contact, such as in bruxism. Bruxism is the unconscious clenching and/or grinding that a lot of us do in our sleep. Patients suffering from bruxism may have a sore jaw upon waking as well as headaches, neck pain, and even eye or ear pain.

Abrasion is caused by an outside force like brushing too aggressively or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Patients should use a soft-bristled toothbrush in circular motions, not back and forth, along the gum line.

Erosion results from acid being constantly washed over the teeth, eating away at tooth enamel. Acidic foods and beverages can lead to erosion but internal erosion can be caused by stomach acid from regular vomiting or gastric reflux. Patients suffering from bulimia or GERD often have a lot of tooth erosion on the back surface of their teeth.

Daily wear and tear as we age is normal, but different types of wear can lead to an accelerated rate of tooth deterioration that should be addressed before more severe damage is done. Worn teeth often appear flat and shorter and can even become discolored and crowded. Patients suffering from any type of jaw pain or TMJ issues need to address those before restoring worn teeth with porcelain veneers.

Treating Worn Teeth With Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are a natural-looking restoration used for all sorts of dental problems. Using a wafer-thin porcelain, veneers cover the front surface of the tooth, the surface that shows when you smile. Veneers are only appropriate for the front teeth because of how thin they are, they cannot withstand the abuse of chewing. Back teeth that need to be restored usually get dental crowns, which are much thicker and cover the entire tooth to the gum line.

At your initial visit, your dentist will give you a full oral evaluation, using dental x-rays to make sure there are no other underlying issues. Veneers are a relatively simple procedure and have the added benefit of retaining more tooth structure than other options since only the front surface of the tooth is affected. Your dentist will take impressions and prepare your teeth for temporary veneers which you will wear while your porcelain veneers are being fabricated at a dental lab. After a couple of weeks, you will return to your dentist’s office to have your permanent veneers placed.

Veneers can last up to 20 years with proper care and maintenance! Your dentist may advise you to have a custom night guard fabricated to wear while you sleep to protect them and your natural teeth from the ill effects of bruxism.

Patients looking to restore worn down teeth have other treatment options such as cosmetic contouring, dental bonding, porcelain crowns. Those suffering from bulimia or GERD need to address the cause of tooth erosion before the teeth are restored in order for the restorations to be successful.

Why Are My Teeth Wearing Down