Tooth wear … do you have it ?
A large portion of the population have some degree of tooth wear yet they are unaware of it.
How do I know if I have tooth wear ?
Often there are obvious signs of tooth wear, such as chipped teeth and changes in the tooth shape, or teeth appear yellower or darker in colour. There may be sensitivity to hot,cold or sweet. However sometimes the signs are not so obvious. These can be translucency or thinning of the edge of the front teeth, small dips in the biting surface of back teeth, or notches on the teeth near the gum line. Any of these signs indicate the protective outer enamel layer of the teeth has been damaged. Once the enamel has worn away it does not grow back.
What causes tooth wear ?
There are 3 main types of tooth wear – Erosion, Abrasion and Attrition. The outer hard enamel layer is worn away, and can lead to exposure of the inner softer dentine layer.
Erosion, sometimes known as Acid Wear, is commonly caused by acidic foods or drinks we consume in our diets, that dissolve away the tooth structure. A snacking culture along with demand of fresh fruit and juices/smoothies may have contributed to the increase in erosive tooth wear in recent times.
In certain patients, acid reflux may also be a cause.
Abrasion is caused by an object rubbed against the tooth surface, such as a toothbrush when brushing too hard, or an abrasive toothpaste.
Attrition occurs where teeth rub against each other such as a habit of grinding or clenching teeth.
How can I protect my teeth from the effects of tooth wear ?
During your dental check up with us, we check for tooth wear and advise accordingly. Treatments may vary from a prevention approach, to applying white fillings to protect damaged teeth from further damage. Once the outer enamel layer has worn away the inner dentine layer wears away at a quicker rate because it’s softer than the enamel. White fillings are a comfortable and conservative treatment option which allows placement of a protective covering whilst avoiding drilling the tooth. The white filling bonds to the underlying tooth structure. With white fillings starting from approximately £100 per tooth, they are a cost effective way to protect teeth from further damage and have the added benefit of improving your smile.
Custom made mouthguards are another cost effective treatment for protecting teeth from tooth wear. They are useful in situations where teeth have been worn due to a habit of grinding or clenching teeth, often known as Bruxism. At dentael, we provide custom made mouthguards at the affordable price from £95.
There are some homecare prevention methods you may use to help reduce your risks to tooth wear.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks. If you are having them, try to limit the amount and frequency of them. Try to keep them to meal times.
- Avoid swishing fizzy drinks/ juices / smoothies inside your mouth.
- Avoid brushing your teeth after having acidic food or drink as the enamel is softer at this time.
- Brush your teeth using a soft/medium bristled toothbrush twice a day. Do not put too much pressure when brushing and avoid using an abrasive toothpaste.
- Use a daily fluoride alcohol-free mouthwash.
- Have regular dental checkups to keep your teeth healthy and looking good.
To book your appointment and find out how we can help protect your teeth and improve your smile … please call 020 8997 0006 or submit online appointment request form.
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What causes sensitive teeth ?
As your local dentist we’re here to help you with your dental concerns. Teeth may be sensitive for a number of different reasons. Teeth are often sensitive when dentine is exposed.
Dentine is the layer of tooth structure under the outer enamel layer. It has channels(tubules) that go to the inner nerve part of the tooth.
Dentine is often exposed near the gum line, when the gums pull away from the teeth or when gum tissue is lost. Dentine can also become exposed if the outer enamel layer on teeth wears away.
Below are some factors that can contribute to sensitive teeth :
- Tooth decay : This is a common cause of pain on hot, cold or sweet. Treatment may require a filling to be placed in the tooth.
- Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles will lead to gum recession and/or tooth wear.
- Sugary and acidic foods and drinks : this can lead to erosion tooth wear by wearing away the enamel.
- Teeth grinding : this can lead to the tooth surface wearing away.
- Gum disease : this can lead to gum recession. ( the gums shrink back )
- A cracked tooth or filling : A crack can run from the outer surface of the tooth towards the root and the inner part of the tooth.
- Age : Gums can naturally recede over time.
- Teeth whitening : Some patients have sensitivity for a short time after teeth whitening.
Tips to help prevent sensitivity :
- Visit your dentist to establish the cause of your sensitivity, so it is treated appropriately
- Brush your teeth twice a day effectively using the correct toothbrush.
- Clean in between your teeth using floss or interdental brushes to help prevent gum disease.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks
- Avoid stress as this can lead to a teeth grinding habit
- If sensitivity is due to exposed dentine, using a sensitive toothpaste is likely to help. We let you know if this is suitable for you
- Our dentist may apply de-sensitising paste on your teeth over a number of visits
- Your may require a white filling to cover the exposed dentine. This is often a simple procedure.
To book your appointment with our friendly dentist … please call 020 8997 0006 or submit online appointment request form.