Tooth Wear and why we see it getting worse
What can happen if tooth wear is not addressed?
To a certain extent, tooth wear is a part of ageing. Tooth enamel is the hardest ‘material’ produced by animals (people included).
What we as dentists ae seeing is an accelerated pattern of wear. The reason for this is multifactorial:
Increase in acidic drinks.
The one thing that does attack enamel and tooth structure is acids. Acids in soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juices, soda water, lemon/lime in water etc all soften the enamel, turning it to more of a chalky consistency to accelerate wear.
Increase in lifestyle stress.
People who are mentally and/or physically active clench or grind their teeth much more during sleep, the reflex that governs how much pressure we put on our teeth goes to sleep as well, allowing us to put massive pressures for up to 6-8 hrs per night.
Increase in reflux.
We are seeing more and more gastro oesophageal reflux. If this also can occur more often at night, the effects can be devastating as softened enamel is ground away for those sleep hours, and the patient is quite often unaware.
Severe teeth wear — what to do about it?
In the early stages, identification of the early signs is important, then an assessment of diet, history of reflux and other acid exposures and modifications to diet/lifestyle is important.
If clenching and/or grinding is present, we can make an occlusal splint, a thin plastic plate that you wear at night will prevent any further wear.
In the moderate stages, wear usually gets to the stage where it has gone through the outer 1.5-2mm of enamel, into the softer dentine. This softer dentine wears more to produce ‘pot holes’ where the acid pools and accelerates the breakdown. At the simple ‘pot hole’ stage, small fillings can be placed to help slow the wear, as well as addressing the causative factors as above.
In more severe cases, reconstruction is usually required, this involves a complex mix of treatment modalities to restore lost tissue and create a more youthful smile. The exact treatment plan will depend on amount of tissue lost, the bite etc. At Cambridge City Dental, our Perth dentists would tailor the treatment plan exactly to your unique needs.