Teeth all naturally wear as we grow older and because of that complex dental issues can arise.  When this happens often the result is a loss of tooth structure.  This is natural. When teeth wear down they do not function as they were intended to function and the result is often complex issues.

It is very normal and occurs with everyone that the older we get the more wear and tear your teeth will be subjected to throughout your lifetime.  Not much can be done to prevent this aging of the teeth.  Because at Rocklin Smiles we like to be proactive we regular educate our patients on how to slow down and even prevent this wear and tear.  This not only saves our patients from pain but also the costly repair expense just by taking preventive steps.

The type of wear is a pathological wear, where the tooth is no longer sustainable in its current state and needs to be addressed by a competent dentist.

One issue that I commonly see in patients is the loss of tooth structure as a result of wear. Teeth have been worn down to the point that they can no longer function correctly, and complex dental work must be completed to address this problem.

Let me start by saying that all teeth will undergo some wear and tear during your lifetime. However, a patient could live to the age of 100 with normal tooth wear and never experience any pain, or notice a change in the look of their teeth.

The type of wear I’m referring to is a pathological wear, where the tooth is no longer sustainable in its current state. This wear can be a result of a few stimuli, including:

  • Tooth grinding: Tooth grindingeither as the result of some form of a nervous habit, or the teeth being used outside their normal function can be the cause. These abnormal functions could include things like, chewing on toothpicks, straws or even forms of different seeds all of which might lead to issues.
  • Acids: Acids from both your stomach and your diet can cause issues with your teeth so care must be taken with things like soda, citrus and other high sugar content foods and treats. 
  • Tooth loss: Loss of teeth in your mouth can cause you to chew different which can place stress on the teeth that are left to do the chewing which long term can cause friction that might results tooth loss.

The natural wear that these stimuli cause to teeth can occur without the patient noticing or even recognizing. The wear can be slow and occur over long periods of time which can gradually reduce the structure of your teeth until they become an issue which might include pain and/or aesthetic problems.

By identifying and determining the cause of this wear early can go a long way in improving the patient’s overall dental health. Because the treatment for this wear is often complex dentistry if left untreated it is essential to identify and treat the abnormal wear as early as possible.

If caught early and treated, wear can be addressed quickly and limit the amount of damage. Utensils like a bite guard or the bonding of crowns only to the teeth that are affected can work well as a preventative measure. If the teeth get worse restorative dentistry may be needed to address changes to the bite, and require a combination of crowns, veneers and orthodontics to treat the problem long term.

The direct consequence of failing to treat this is can ultimately be tooth loss. While your teeth may not fall out if left untreated, they potentially can wear down until a root canal is needed. That is why it is so important to identify, address and treat tooth wear at its earliest sign.

If your teeth have shortened in the last 5 years, or your smile has changed, talk to your dentist about how you can prevent and mitigate the loss of tooth structure. Other signs of wear include jagged edges or translucency around the tooth structure.

If you suspect that your teeth are wearing or you know have pain it is never to early to address the situation with a checkup that can uncover all potential issues.  Should you have any questions about the treatment for this problem, call us at 916.624.3119 to schedule a consultation today.