Worn or damaged teeth can have a wide range of 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 be the cause of 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 take place when a person is awake and perhaps experiencing a lot of stress, most of the time it occurs while the person is sleeping. 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 an 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 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 to be worn away. Foods and beverages that contain various forms of acid and are the most common form of tooth erosion. Citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges as well as some candy 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 for 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 restore worn or broken teeth with new ceramic restorations.
- Tooth Bonding: For minor tooth chips, Dr. Blaylock may recommend cosmetic tooth bonding. This is a simple procedure, typically complete in a single dental visit.