As we get older, our teeth and fillings wear down. This is due to normal functional activities like chewing. Gradual teeth wear is a natural process of ageing. However, sudden teeth wear or worn down teeth in younger people is usually linked to a few main factors. These include: parafunctional activity such as grinding your teeth at night, loss of teeth which places a greater load on your remaining teeth, bite problems where the teeth don’t meet each other properly, acid reflux or a highly acidic diet which wears away the teeth enamel at a rapid rate. There are many other factors which your dentist will assess during your treatment planning phase. Need a caring, family dentist? At Riverstone Family Dental, we don’t just fix your teeth – we communicate with you and explain the cause and treatment required to improve your oral health. Give us a call on 8678 3538. Read on as we explore 5 factors I may consider when rebuilding your worn down teeth. As I explain these factors I will give you some examples of how I might fix them.
What’s left of your teeth?
Your options become quite limited with less tooth structure. This is why it is super important to tackle severe teeth wear early on. Better yet, prevention would be the best course of action. If you have limited enamel left, you may not be able to get veneers. Also, wearing away enamel makes the teeth look darker. This is because dentine (the second layer of the teeth) is actually yellow in colour. Therefore, you would need to take this into account when fixing worn down teeth where shade is an important factor. Composite resin fillings may not be an option depending on your favoured shade. Another point to consider is that severe teeth wear can often create sensitivity or even pain. In these cases, the nerves inside your teeth must be tested to ensure you do not need root canal treatment before rebuilding them.
How strong are your teeth?
The strength of your teeth will determine what can be placed over them. Bonded options will need strong tooth structure not compromised by hypomineralisation or other enamel defects. Enough tooth structure will need to be present above bone level in order to get a porcelain crown for instance. Lastly, the surrounding bone and gums must not have active infection of have suffered severe disease. Your back teeth (molars) are the strongest teeth in your mouth. As such, they will usually have their biting surfaces covered with a gold, porcelain or composite resin restoration. A porcelain or gold crown can be placed over these teeth and help to protect them from further breakdown. An alternative to a crown is an onlay or inlay. This is where only part of the tooth is covered and is dependent upon how much strength already exists in the tooth and how much tooth structure has been lost.
What work have you already had?
Your existing fillings will be assessed for their resistance to wear. Gold and porcelain wear at a similar rate to enamel but composite resin wears down faster than enamel. Technology is constantly improving the wear rate of composite resin so this could change in the future. Depending on the quality and strength of your existing dental work, your dentist may repair or replace them. Orthodontic treatment can also be used to favourably realign your teeth so they meet one another in better positions. It can also be used to extrude your teeth to make them look longer.
What are your health and habits like?
An acidic diet, acid reflux and bulimia can expose your teeth to very high levels of acid. This can wear down the surfaces of your teeth and is especially seen on the biting surfaces of your back teeth and the outer surfaces of your upper front teeth. Your front teeth may also appear translucent on the edges. When rebuilding these teeth, it is important that habits causing an increase in acid in the mouth are ceased. This is because despite our best efforts, in an acidic environment your fillings, crowns and other dental work will not last as long as a natural oral environment. Another habit is grinding teeth during the day and at night. If you grind your teeth at night, this may be a hard habit to break. In this case, you must wear a night guard whilst sleeping.
Do you have all your back teeth?
If you have lost any back teeth, this will play an important part in rebuilding your teeth. When a tooth is lost due to natural means or if it is extracted by a dentist, then the rest of the teeth try to make up for this loss. The other teeth may do this by shifting, drifting or tilting into the new gap. Moreover, the chewing force is not as strong anymore. To counteract this, the other teeth may overcompensate and have large loads placed on them. This places them at a higher risk of cracking, splitting and fracturing. Therefore, your dentist may recommend replacing missing teeth with implants, dentures or bridges as part of their treatment plan.
I hope you have found this blog helpful.
As always, if you need a consultation give us at call at Riverstone Family Dental: 8678 3538.