Worn or damaged teeth can have many causes, including complex dental concerns such as TMJ disorders. Your dentist in Durham NC, Dr. Blaylock, will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums and jaw joints as part of a comprehensive approach to addressing worn teeth.
Identifying any underlying dental problems that may cause worn or damaged teeth is the key to recommending appropriate, lasting treatment.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is when a person involuntarily grinds their teeth or clenches their teeth. It is a common symptom of a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), commonly known as TMJ. While it can occur when a person is awake and perhaps experiencing a lot of stress, it occurs most of the time while the person is sleeping. To learn more about our TMJ treatment options, see Periodontal therapy.
Some people do not have any symptoms and do not even realize they are grinding their teeth. Worn-down teeth due to grinding can easily be seen and diagnosed by your dentist at a regular checkup.
There are many causes of bruxism, with stress and anxiety as well as abnormal positioning of the teeth and jaw, being the most common. If the cause of your worn teeth is teeth grinding, Dr. Blaylock may recommend the use of a bite guard to maintain a healthy and functional smile and prevent future damage.
Other Causes of Worn Teeth
Abrasion is another way teeth can become worn down. Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth that protects the tooth from decay. Abrasion takes place when the enamel is worn away by the tooth coming in constant, repeated contact with a foreign object. This can happen if a person has a pierced tongue or lips. It can also be caused by constant chewing on objects such as fingernails, pens, etc. Brushing your teeth too aggressively can also lead to abrasion.
Erosion is another cause for teeth to become worn down. This is when a chemical of some sort is responsible for the tooth enamel being worn away. Foods and beverages contain various forms of acid and are the most common form of tooth erosion.
Citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and some candies contain citric acid. Soda, tea, and coffee all contain harmful acids. People who suffer from bulimia expose their teeth to stomach acids. While occasional exposure to these kinds of acids is typically okay, repeated exposure can cause teeth erosion.
Treatment For Worn & Broken Teeth
Your treatment may include one or several procedures to establish a healthy, stable bite and repair cosmetic problems. Common treatment options:
- Orthodontics: Crooked, or misaligned teeth, can sometimes be the source of premature tooth wear and/or broken teeth. Dr. Blaylock will work with a local orthodontist to design and implement an orthodontic treatment plan.
- Restorative Dentistry: Ceramic restorations such as dental crowns, porcelain veneers, and dental fillings can become damaged when the teeth are not properly aligned. Dr. Blaylock may recommend repairing broken fillings and crowns as well as restoring worn or broken teeth with new ceramic restorations.
- Tooth Bonding: Dr. Blaylock may recommend cosmetic tooth bonding for minor tooth chips. This is a simple procedure, typically completed in a single dental visit. He may also recommend other cosmetic dentistry services to fix worn teeth.
What do worn teeth indicate?
Worn teeth can indicate tooth decay, gum disease, or an issue with grinding or clenching your teeth during sleep. Worn teeth may also be a sign of poor oral hygiene or aggressive brushing techniques. If you have worn teeth and don’t recognize the cause, your dentist should evaluate you so they can diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment options. Consult with a dentist if you notice signs of worn-down teeth.
At what age do teeth start to wear?
Teeth can begin to wear at any age. However, wear and tear on the teeth can become more common as an individual gets older. This is because, over time, the enamel on the teeth can become thinner and less resistant to damage. Additionally, habits such as teeth grinding or clenching and consuming acidic foods and drinks can contribute to wear on the teeth. Other factors such as dental habits, diet, and underlying medical conditions can also play a role in worn teeth.
What are the signs of worn-down teeth?
The signs of worn down teeth can include tooth sensitivity, a flat or smooth appearance of the teeth, chips or cracks in the teeth, and pain or discomfort when chewing. Other signs may include changes in the shape or position of the teeth and yellowing or discoloration of the teeth. It’s important to see a dentist if you notice any of these signs. If you don’t treat worn teeth, they can lead to further dental problems. A dentist can diagnose the cause of the wear and recommend treatment options.
Can worn-down teeth affect bite?
Yes, worn-down teeth can affect your bite by altering the natural alignment of the teeth and jaws. This can lead to difficulty biting and chewing, headaches, jaw pain, and tooth damage. If you experience these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist to assess the extent of the damage and determine the best course of treatment. This may involve dental restorations or orthodontic treatment to realign the teeth and improve the bite.
Can worn-down teeth cause cosmetic concerns?
Yes, worn-down teeth can cause aesthetic concerns. When teeth are worn down, they can become shorter, uneven, and discolored. This can affect the appearance of your smile. In addition, worn-down teeth can also cause changes to the shape and size of the face, making it appear older. Dentists use cosmetic dental treatments such as dental bonding, porcelain veneers, or tooth crowns to restore the appearance of worn-down teeth and improve the aesthetic of your smile.
Can dentists fix worn-down teeth?
Yes, dentists can fix worn-down teeth using a variety of treatments that depend on the extent of the damage and the underlying cause. For minor tooth wear, a dentist will use cosmetic treatments such as dental bonding or veneers to restore the appearance of the teeth. More severe wear may require dental restorations such as crowns, inlays, or onlays to restore the function and structure of your teeth. Orthodontic treatment may also be necessary to realign the teeth and improve the bite.
Schedule An Appointment
Have you noticed your teeth appear to be worn down? Call us or schedule an appointment online to get treatment.