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Tooth Wear

As we keep our teeth longer and longer, tooth wear is becoming more and more common. Unfortunately due to stress and lifestyle factors, tooth wear is no longer confined to teeth in older people. Prevention is always key with tooth wear and we do our best to identify the causes for you, but sometimes we need to intervene to ‘put back what’s been lost’ to give back a proper functioning bite and make teeth look normal and natural again.

The effects can be seen when teeth begin to shorten, discolour, become sensitive or if roots become exposed. Your bite can become misaligned and this can then lead to muscle pain in the jaws, head, neck and shoulders.

The main factors that cause these changes are –

  • dietary factors such as high acidic foods and drinks, habits of eating or snacking on hard foods
  • acid reflux
  • grinding or clenching your teeth together also knows as ‘parafunction’ or ‘bruxism’ this is commonly attributed to stress or busy lifestyles

Treatment can include modifying lifestyle choices and seeking management of reflux through your GP. If bruxism is diagnosed then patients can benefit from having a custom made appliance or splint made to be worn at night – this can act to stop teeth clashing together and can reduce the forces in the tense powerful jaw muscles. It can be particularly effective and can also lead to relaxation of the jaw, head, neck muscles and also a better night’s sleep!

Your dentist will examine your teeth for signs of tooth wear as part of your check up and discuss the management options if they feel you would benefit from either prevention or treatment options.

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