There are three main types of tooth surface loss:
- Attrition: Tooth wear caused by the top and bottom teeth wearing against one another. This can happen in people who develop a habit of grinding their teeth during the day or night (bruxists), or sometimes if the teeth come together in an unfavourable ‘bite’.
- Abrasion: Tooth wear caused by something repeatedly rubbing against the tooth. The most common cause of this is over enthusiastic tooth brushing with a damaging technique.
- Erosion: Tooth wear caused by acids. The acids can come from the digestive system, either perhaps due to repeated vomiting or if someone suffers with acid reflux. Acids can also be in the foods and drinks that we consume, such as fizzy drinks and citrus fruits.
What are the symptoms of worn teeth?
Patients with tooth wear can experience a number of symptoms:
- increased tooth sensitivity due to the loss of protective enamel
- noticing changes in the appearance of your teeth, such as:
- seeming shorter
- looking more translucent
- generally looking worn down
If you are concerned about any aspect of your teeth or oral health, ask your dentist who will be happy to help.
Do I need treatment for worn teeth?
Tooth wear, if left untreated, will progress as the teeth will wear out more quickly once the protective enamel is gone.
Often, more teeth can become affected as the patient’s bite changes over time due to the altered shape of the worn teeth.
A key part of managing patients with worn teeth is to identify the cause and advise on how to prevent it progressing further over time.
Your dentist will discuss the likely causes with you and try to suggest ways to address this with careful planning.
If your tooth wear is mild, it may just require monitoring with regular check ups. If it is more severe, treatment may be required.
What treatment is available for worn teeth?
Often repairing your teeth will involve bonding tooth coloured composite resin to the teeth to give a stable end result that looks and feels good.
- Wax ups:
In some cases impressions will be taken of your teeth to allow models to be produced which can be ‘waxed up’ to recreate the correct shape that your teeth will need to be restored to.
We can even show you how the build ups of your teeth will look in your mouth by allowing you to ‘try in’ the ‘wax up’ using temporary material so you can see how it will look and feel.
- Building up teeth:
In some cases building the teeth back up to the correct shape will improve your teeth. It may make them feel a little unusual at first and your bite may feel different, however you will get used to the new shape of your teeth within a week or so and your bite will re-establish as any gap created between your upper and lower back teeth closes down over the following months.
Are there any risks in the treatment of worn teeth?
During the stabilisation phase after your teeth are rebuilt there can sometimes be a little discomfort as your front teeth can be under increased load while you wait for your back teeth to reestablish the bite.
This initial increased loading can occasionally cause some chipping or loss of the build ups at first and your teeth may need to be repaired or replaced
Tooth build ups do perform well, but will require periodic maintenance, polishing or replacement as they may chip or stain over time. In certain cases if this is an ongoing issue then it may be necessary to consider ceramic crowns or veneers rather than composite resin build ups.
How much does it cost to treat worn teeth?
The costs of treating worn teeth are dependent on the extent of the wear and number of teeth involved. Your dentist will be able to provide you with an individual treatment plan once you have discussed the options available.