Has your dentist warned you against the dangers of tooth wear? If so, do you know exactly what tooth wear is? Tooth wear is a loss of structure by a means that doesn’t involve decay, and bacteria aren’t involved.
There are three primary tooth wear varieties:
- Dental Abrasion. Abrasion of the teeth occurs due to a foreign body, placing pressure onto them. This might involve chewing on hard foods, excessive brushing, or habits like biting ice cubes.
- Dental Attrition. Dental attrition results when the teeth wear against other teeth. This is most commonly caused by grinding of the teeth, often at night during sleep.
- Dental Erosion. This is the most common cause of tooth wear, and it is usually caused by excessive acid that dissolves the structure of the teeth. Frequent and excessive acidic beverage consumption is the primary culprit, and this can involve juice or alcohol. Less commonly, it can result from stomach acid coming into contact with the teeth.
Tooth wear is quite common, and it tends to increase with age. Our teeth will experience normal wear and tear as we get older, and a recent study found that about 67% of people had some level of wear that involved wearing down of the enamel. In this same study it was determined that 11% of people surveyed had moderate levels of tooth wear, while 1% had severe tooth wear in which the nerve of a tooth had been exposed.
The treatment of tooth wear will depend on the type and how bad the problem has been allowed to get. Preventative dentistry is the most important factor, but you should also be sure to see your dentist regularly to look for the signs of tooth wear. Early diagnosis could reduce the need for future restorative dentistry procedures.
If you suspect that you might be suffering from tooth wear, or if you are interested in treatment options, contact our office for guidance.