What Causes Tooth Wear?

Tooth wear refers to the progressive loss tooth enamel due to factors other than dental trauma. Certain behaviors and risk factors contribute to tooth wear. The gradual erosion of the tooth’s natural structure can lead to a host of dental problems, including significant oral pain. 

If you are noticing the early stages of tooth wear, contact your Salt Lake City, UT dentist, Rod Gleave DMD, today. Early treatment and intervention can protect your remaining teeth. Our dental practice offers multiple restorative treatments to replace lost tooth enamel.

Common Causes of Tooth Wear 

There are basically three types of dental erosion:

  • Attrition: This form of tooth erosion results from tooth-to-tooth contact. Many of our Salt Lake City patients exhibit symptoms of attrition-related wear due to improper biting or teeth grinding.
  • Abfraction: Abfraction results from a misaligned bite that puts an abnormal load on the tooth, which can cause premature wear on that side of the tooth.
  • Abrasion: This form of wear is similar to abfraction but results from an external mechanical force.

Dental wear can result from:

  • Habits like bruxism, jaw clenching, or object biting
  • Certain medications
  • Poor tooth alignment
  • Missing teeth
  • Diet
  • Sleep apnea
  • Genetic factors like thin enamel

Tooth wear is often associated with unpleasant symptoms like the tenderness of the muscles when chewing, headaches, clicking of the jaw, “off” bite, loose teeth, oral pain, and pronounced sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.

Treatments for Tooth Erosion

During your consultation at our Salt Lake City dental practice, Dr. Gleave will diagnose the cause of your tooth wear. Before your teeth can be restored, he will first need to address the underlying causes of your dental erosion. He may recommend dietary changes or treatment for TMJ and teeth grinding

For TMJ and teeth grinding, Dr. Gleave will create a customized oral appliance. The comfortable plastic retainer is worn over the lower teeth to improves your bite. Shortly after beginning this safe and affordable treatment, many of our patients experience immediate relief from jaw pain. 

Once the underlying cause of your enamel erosion is diagnosed and treated, Dr. Gleave will recommend one of several possible treatments to address your tooth wear. The treatment options may include:

  • Tooth bonding: Cosmetic bonding uses the same tooth-colored composite resin that is used for tooth fillings. The bonding can be shaped to recreate the lost structure of your worn teeth.
  • Porcelain veneers: Porcelain veneers are thin shells that are placed on the front of anterior teeth. The attachments can completely reshape and brighten your smile.
  • Inlays or onlays: These pre-formed fillings replace tooth enamel that is lost from decay or wear.
  • Dental crowns: If you have experienced extensive decay, you may be fitted with a dental crown. The prosthetic completely “caps” your tooth in a protective layer of porcelain, metal, or another durable material. 

Treat Tooth Erosion in Salt Lake City

The first step in addressing tooth wear is to address the underlying causes of your dental erosion. Then, Dr. Gleave can develop a customized cosmetic or restorative treatment plan to restore form and function to your smile. Dr. Gleave holds memberships and affiliations with multiple prominent dental associations. To schedule your next consultation, please contact our Salt Lake City dental practice online or by calling (801) 747-8531.

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