Dental wear is a common physiological phenomenon in elderly patients, mainly due to the daily use of the teeth during mastication.
However, there are people who suffer tooth wear at an early age. This is usually due to bruxism. This is a disorder that consists of involuntary clenching and grinding of the teeth, an action that occurs both during the day and at night.
During bruxism, very intense forces are generated episodically during sleep, causing tooth wear.
But in addition to this, there are other causes that we will see later.
What is dental wear?
Tooth wear is the progressive loss of tooth surface caused by actions other than caries and occlusal trauma. It increases with age and is more prevalent in men than in women.
This wear begins to occur in the harder enamel and progresses to the softer part, the dentin, in very severe cases.
Enamel is in charge of protecting our teeth from damage caused by biting or contact with food or beverages under extreme conditions, such as very cold, hot, acids…
What types of tooth wear are there?
Tooth wear can be due to three phenomena: erosion, attrition and abrasion.
It is the progressive loss of tooth surface by chemical or acid dissolution. That is, the erosion of tooth enamel is mainly due to too frequent consumption of carbonated beverages and fruit juices with high levels of acidity.
It is also a problem in people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux due to some eating disorders.
It is the progressive loss of the hard surface of the teeth due to grinding or chewing against opposing teeth. This degree of dental wear will depend on the use that each person makes of his or her teeth.
Bruxism, for example, is one of the causes. This habit of clenching and rubbing teeth together increases the degree of tooth wear.
Eighty percent of the force applied during bruxism occurs at night, unconsciously and may be due to stress or bad habits.
It is the progressive loss of tooth enamel and is usually associated with improper tooth brushing technique. This can result in notches at the junction of the crown and root of the teeth.
This type of tooth wear can also be observed in people who use their teeth as a tool, for example, to remove bottle caps.
How to prevent tooth wear?
In the case of bruxism
As its main cause is stress, reducing stress helps to reduce bruxism and with it, dental wear. Taking time off from activities that cause us stress can help us reduce stress.
However, if this is not possible, the solution to control this wear is the use of a material called an «unloading splint«, whose function is to protect the teeth from the pressure exerted by the patient when clenching and grinding the teeth.
It is a rigid splint, made of resin and its design helps to keep the jaw in a more relaxed position. It is normally used at night, during sleep, but can also be worn during the day if necessary.
In the case of erosion caused by acidic or acidic
In this case, to prevent tooth wear you should:
– Reduce or eliminate the intake of carbonated beverages and fruit juices with high levels of acidity.
– Do not retain drinks and/or food in the mouth for a prolonged period of time.
– Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production.
– Avoid brushing teeth immediately after consuming acidic foods and beverages, since acid softens the enamel and makes it susceptible to damage from brushing.
– Use a soft toothbrush.
– Use toothpaste with fluoride, neutral ph and low abrasive.
In the case of abrasion
To reduce abrasion we must adopt correct brushing techniques. As well as not using our teeth as a tool to grab or hold objects.
Treatments if you are already suffering from tooth wear
In case the problem has progressed enough, treatment will be necessary in order to avoid further damage to the tooth, reduce sensitivity and avoid damage to the dental nerve.
There are various restorative treatments available for this type of case, depending on the degree of wear, ranging from a simple reconstruction to the placement of dental veneers or crowns.
In Cervantes Dental Clinic we care about your dental health, so we advise you properly to treat your specific case.
As we always say, each one of us is different, so our case is different. For this reason, personalized and attentive service is our daily routine.
Smile is a universal language. Come to our dental clinic in Granada and we will advise you. First appointment free of charge!