Your teeth are your smile’s best friend, but when the top layer of enamel wears thin, your smile could be at risk. Enamel may be harder than steel, but it is not indestructible. To make matters worse, it won’t grow back once it’s gone. This can be a worrying fact for patients suffering from a condition known as worn dentition, but with the orthodontic restorative interface you’ll receive from the team at Jensen Orthodontic Arts, your smile will be good as new in no time.
What Is Worn Dentition?
Also known as tooth erosion, “worn dentition” refers to the chronic loss of tooth enamel. While it is natural to lose some small percentage of tooth enamel as you age, worn dentition is a more serious condition that can pose a threat to your oral health and cause major discomfort.
The development of worn dentition depends on a wide range of lifestyle elements, but there are three main factors that contribute to excessive tooth wear: erosion, attrition, and abrasion. Each of these factors reduces the amount of enamel covering a tooth, which reveals the ultra-sensitive dentin layer below. Patients with worn dentition may experience one of these conditions by themselves or multiple at a time, which could affect how quickly the enamel wears away and the degree of wear as a result.
Erosion occurs when chemical agents cause the enamel on a tooth to wear away, usually some form of acid. The culprits of this type of enamel loss are usually things like highly acidic diets or other gastric disorders that cause frequent vomiting or acid reflux. When left on the teeth, this acid eats away at the top layer, exposing the teeth to further damage.
Also known as tooth grinding or bruxism, friction between teeth can also wear away the enamel. Attrition is often caused by stress, either in waking hours or during sleep, or other disorders like TMD or sleep apnea.
Abrasion occurs when objects other than food cause wear and tear on your teeth’s enamel layer. This means that many things could result in tooth abrasion, but usually, it comes down to habits like harsh brushing or chewing on hard objects such as ice. Over time, these habits chip away at the protective layer of your teeth – literally.
Signs & Symptoms
There are several indicators that let your Jensen Orthodontic Arts team know that you may be experiencing worn dentition. You should schedule an appointment with a professional if you have one or more of these symptoms.
When erosion, attrition, and abrasion cause your enamel to wear away, the next layer of the tooth, called dentin, is exposed. This layer has a number of nerve endings that make it extremely sensitive to extremes like temperature or texture.
When the dentin layer is exposed, you may notice a yellowish tint to your teeth. This is because the white enamel is missing from certain sections of the tooth, revealing the severity of your worn dentition.
Noticeable wear and tear that causes your teeth to change shape or texture is yet another sign that you’re experiencing worn dentition. If your teeth are uneven, flattened, or shorter than normal, you should visit Dr. Jensen.
How We Treat Worn Dentition
Finding a solution for tooth erosion, attrition, or abrasion usually requires the help of a prosthodontic professional like Dr. Jensen for the best results possible. Our team can tackle the problem from both the dental and orthodontic angles, helping you to get the relief you need quicker and more efficiently. Here are a few of our potential treatment options to address the causes and symptoms of worn dentition.
Veneers are dental prosthetics that cover the front of select teeth to hide cracks and imperfections caused by enamel erosion. For patients with milder symptoms or aesthetic concerns, veneers may be an appropriate solution to reduce the effects of worn dentition and restore your smile.
Crowns are very similar to veneers in that they cover select teeth, but rather than covering the front of the tooth, crowns are designed to fit like a cap over an existing tooth to cover it completely. While they can absolutely improve the appearance of your smile, crowns are used to provide structural support to worn or broken teeth without having to extract them.
For patients suffering from worn dentition caused by attrition, or tooth grinding, nightguards may be the right solution for you. This personalized appliance is custom-made to fit your teeth, and it prevents you from clenching or grinding your teeth together during the night.
Attrition is often caused by tooth misalignment. By correcting bad bites or crooked teeth, orthodontic appliances like braces or clear aligners can address the underlying problem of worn dentition. In many cases, early orthodontic evaluation can also help detect the condition’s warning signs, helping us prevent wear and tear before it even begins.
Board-Certified Care from the Professionals You Can Trust
At Jensen Orthodontic Arts, orthodontic treatment is more than just a trade – it’s an art. We craft every treatment plan with a high level of care so you get the smile results you deserve. From orthodontic to prosthodontic treatment and everything in between, visit Jensen Orthodontic Arts in McKinney today!