Just like your favorite jeans, teeth wear over time. In fact, approximately 97 percent of people have some degree of wear and tear on their teeth. It’s a natural part of the aging process. And it doesn’t really become a problem unless the process gets accelerated in some way through attrition, abrasion, or erosion.
If you feel like you have abnormally worn teeth, you have a good reason to be concerned. Let’s take a closer look.
How to Identify Worn Teeth
Normal wear and tear is not usually noticeable. So if you don’t notice that your teeth are worn, you’re likely fine. Worn teeth, on the other hand, are easily noticeable. They may appear short, flat, sharp, grooved, or uneven. Additionally, they may appear yellowed where the enamel has been worn away.
You may also notice other symptoms such as pain or sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. Your bite may seem a bit off, and you may have jaw pain or headaches.
What Causes Worn Teeth
As mentioned, wear and tear is caused by attrition, abrasion, or erosion. Attrition occurs when your teeth come into contact with each other on a regular basis, enough to cause signs of wear. Grinding and clenching your teeth are among the main causes of attrition, as are crooked teeth or an uneven bite.
Abrasion is caused by chewing on objects or other materials. Physical abrasion occurs when you habitually chew on hard substances such as fingernails, pen caps, and toothpicks. Even over-zealous brushing with a hard-bristled brush can cause abrasion.
Erosion occurs when the hard part of the tooth is undermined by acidic substances. Erosion is often caused by the consumption of acidic foods such as citrus juice and fruit, soda, and tomato sauce.
What the Consequences Are of Worn Teeth
This unusual wear and tear is a significant dental issue. In fact, it comes in as the third most pressing issue, trailing only behind tooth decay and gum disease in the ranking of serious dental issues.
If left untreated, excessive wear can lead to a host of other painful and, sometimes irreversible, dental issues. Not only are worn teeth more susceptible to decay, they are often harder to repair when a cavity does occur. This is because much of the hardened tooth enamel can be missing from a worn tooth, which can make repair tricky.
Wear can lead to an uneven bite, which can make it difficult to chew. It may even lead to headaches and pain in the face and neck as well as other jaw issues. Severely worn teeth can change your appearance also.
What You Can Do About Worn Teeth
Fortunately, your dentist can help you address unusual wear and tear on your teeth. Dentists pay close attention to wear and tear and take measures to correct the problem at the first signs. Once the causes are uncovered, your dentist will prescribe a treatment to you. For example, if your issues are caused by attrition or teeth grinding, your dentist may recommend that you wear a dental guard at night.
If your teeth need to be restored, your dentist has many options to do so, including porcelain veneers, bonded composites, and crowns. Your dentist will also help you take steps to prevent future damage to your teeth. Early intervention is vital to correct overly worn teeth. If you are worried about the state or shape of your teeth, or if you worry that your teeth show too many signs of wear and tear, call Treasured Smiles Adult & Cosmetic Dentistry today to make an appointment. Together we can take care of all of your dental concerns.