3 Causes For Tooth Wear, Because Tooth Wear Is Not Normal

dental exam with mirror

BY: Larissa M. Figari-Goller, DDS, MAGD, FICOI

Tooth wear is the loss of healthy structure for reasons not related to decay. Teeth become shorter, and often thinner, over time. Tooth wear may decrease proper chewing ability and can change the appearance of your smile.

What Causes Tooth Wear? 

  1. Acid erosion, which appears as grooving or dishing of the biting surface of your teeth. People may experience this if they have chronic dry mouth, chronic vomiting, gastroesophageal reflux, or a diet that consists of sports drinks, soft drinks, candies, and citrus fruits, or are a swimmer.
  2. Bite wear which appears as the shortening or thinning of your teeth. The risk factors are an unbalanced bite—when your teeth don’t contact evenly on both sides, grinding your teeth, and an overly abrasive diet.
  3. Tooth cleaning abrasion which appears as notching near the gum line of your teeth. The risk factors for tooth cleaning abrasion are abrasive dental home care aids. This can include some kinds of toothpaste and toothbrushes, and using too much pressure on your toothbrush or toothpicks when cleaning your teeth.
dentist demonstrating proper bushing technique

What Can I Do To Minimize My Risk Of Future Tooth Wear?

Foremost is to have your dentist evaluate your individual risk factors and customize a way to help you stop or slow the process. 

Some things that can be done are to diagnose and manage chronic dry mouth, diagnose and treat conditions related to chronic vomiting and GERD, dietary counseling, and diagnose and treat an unbalanced bite. Other treatments include making a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding, applying fluoride to harden the notched surfaces, and developing a specific home care plan

What Will Happen If I Choose To Do Nothing About My Tooth Wear?

It can affect the way you feel, the way you look, and how well you can eat and speak. If untreated and the risk is not minimized, it can continue to wear and affect the ability to work with the tooth. In the worst scenario, you can lose one or more teeth. 

We can help you at Huntington Bay Dental. Contact us and our team of Long Island dentists will develop a customized plan to help minimize changes and create a more predictable smile.