The average tooth has about 1.5mm of enamel covering its interior. On average with normal wear and tear, teeth lose about 0.01mm of enamel annually. So, with regular dental care, teeth can last a lifetime. However, due to additional factors teeth sometimes wear down much more quickly, leading to a dental condition known as worn dentition.
What Is Worn Dentition?
Worn dentition, also called tooth wear or erosion, is characterized by a pathological loss of tooth structure that occurs for reasons other than normal tooth decay.
Signs and Symptoms of Worn Dentition
Worn dentition is primarily marked by the loss of tooth enamel. As a result, patients often experience:
yellowed tooth appearance (due to exposed dentin)
shortened or otherwise misshaped teeth
Worn dentition, however, is not a purely cosmetic concern. Patients with extremely worn teeth also experience:
extreme tooth sensitivity and pain
changes in their bite
diminished tooth function
What Causes Worn Dentition?
Three factors can contribute to a person’s teeth wearing down more quickly than normal. These include:
Wear and tear caused by tooth-to-tooth contact is called attrition. The progressive loss of tooth structure due to attrition is usually associated with bruxism or sleep bruxism. The type of grinding or clenching associated with bruxism can be related to temporomandibular joint disorders, sleep apnea, stress, genetics, and more.
Worn dentition caused by foreign objects is called abrasion. This can occur due to brushing too hard or chewing on ice or other hard objects.
The loss of tooth structure due to chemical factors is called erosion. Tooth erosion can occur as a result of acid gastric reflux disorders, consuming highly acidic foods and drinks, or even due to vomiting.
Most patients with pathologically worn dentition suffer from a combination of attrition, abrasion, and erosion.
Treatment Options for Worn Dentition
The recommended treatments for worn dentition depend on the extent of damage and include:
Schedule a Smile Restoration Consultation with a Dentist in Orange, CA
If you think you might be suffering from the progressive loss of enamel associated with abnormal wear and tear, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Christopher J. Fotinos or Dr. Randy A. Rosales in Orange, California. Our experienced dentists provide patients with a comprehensive list of general and cosmetic dentistry services. We’ll work with you to determine the best smile restoration plan based on the condition of your teeth and your goals.
To learn more about our dental practice or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.