Worn Teeth - Dental Ageing
Aging is inevitable … and a fact of life. A popular goal for many people is to control or at least minimize the impact that aging can have on us. It would be fair to say too, that men are probably not as focused on the aging process as women are.
Aging process also affects our teeth. Under normal circumstances patients can expect to have “old teeth” problems by the time they reach their 40′s or 50′s.
Premature wear of tooth structures can occur however, for a certain population of patients. One special group of patients are those who have had significant “untreated” biting problems that accompany teeth clenching, teeth grinding or bruxism.
Although bruxism that occurs at night, during our sleep, is fairly common… some people do experience it during the daytime hours… especially under stressful conditions at work.
The most common treatment for bruxism is a customized “bite guard”. This is typically an acrylic appliance made to fit all of either the upper or lower teeth. It does protect the teeth, but does not stop the grinding activity.
Tooth Wear — Beneath The Surface
Teeth are composed of four parts – enamel, dentin, cementum (covering of the root) and the pulp (blood vessels and nerves). The tooth components Enamel is the hardest substance in the body and completely encases the crown of an erupting tooth. With use, some enamel is lost, though there is an adequate thickness of enamel to protect a tooth for a lifetime with normal wear and tear.
With abnormal (pathological) wear, the enamel is completely lost in some areas, which exposes the underlying dentin. Since dentin wears seven times faster than enamel, even if the original cause of the problem is stopped, the dentin will still degrade fairly quickly.
The undermined neighbouring enamel, which is brittle, will start to chip away. This whole portion of the tooth then breaks down at a relatively rapid pace. It can easily lead to a 50% loss of height of a lower front tooth, and sometimes greater, all the way to the gum line.
Different Types of Tooth Tissue Loss
The three forms of accelerated tooth structure loss that results in worn down teeth are:
This is tooth-to-tooth wear on the biting edges of the teeth caused by excessive grinding or clenching.
This is tooth wear through over aggressive brushing and typically affects the sides and necks of the teeth.
This is loss of tooth structure (enamel and dentine) dissolved through acid erosion caused by acidic foods and drinks in our diets, or in patients with conditions like bulimia or acid-reflux.
Some people will have more than one of these factors, sometimes even all three..
Bruxism – a major cause of worn teeth
One of the main factors that can lead to worn down teeth is involuntary teeth grinding or clenching, known as bruxism. Although often brought on by stress, in many cases it is an unconscious action performed during the day and/or whilst asleep. In order to try to prevent daytime or nighttime clenching or grinding, mouth appliances are often suggested to protect the worn teeth and encourage the habit to stop.
Treatment for worn teeth
Clenching and grinding can be linked to a poor bite, irregular teeth or poor dental work. The experienced team at the Windsor Centre for Advanced Dentistry can help to restore your eroded teeth and treat them to prevent further damage – giving you optimum dental health, function and aesthetics.
In addition to customised mouth appliances to improve and realign your bite, treatment offered for worn down teeth includes composite resin bonding, cosmetic contouring, and crowns.