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Toothwear

Do you have Tooth Wear?

Traditionally tooth decay and gum disease have been the main risks to teeth but increasingly perfect teeth are wearing down or dissolving away.

Tooth wear is the irreversible loss of tooth surface. The resulting structural loss can harm appearance, impair function and cause sensitivity. The damage can also become costly and complex to repair.

We look forward to helping – early diagnosis, monitoring and prevention is most ideal but when wear has progressed with our extensive training and experience you can be confident we can help!

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There are three main types of tooth wear: abrasion, attrition and erosion.

It is sometimes difficult to determine the type of tooth wear present because different types frequently occur together.

Samples of tooth wear presenting at Evesham Dental Health Team affecting all ages (Before and After Treatment)

10yr old boy
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40yr old lady
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65yr old gentleman
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Abrasion

What causes dental abrasion?

Abrasion is the loss of tooth structure by mechanical forces from a foreign element rubbing or scraping rather than tooth to tooth contact.

When abrasion is caused by a particular habit such as biting pencils the pattern of notching or chipping will correspond to the habit. If possible it would be best to stop the habit or when this is not possible, please discuss with our team about protective measures.

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At EDHT we frequently see abrasion with certain toothpastes and toothbrushes. How abrasive is your toothpaste:

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Attrition

See also Headaches & Bite Problems

We are all living longer but sometimes our teeth appear to be wearing out faster than we are!

How will I know if I have dental attrition?

The signs of dental attrition might include:

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What causes dental attrition?

Attrition is the wearing down of teeth and/or restorations due to tooth to tooth contact. It occurs when opposing teeth contact for long periods of time and with higher pressures than normal. Squeezing the teeth together is called clenching. Grinding the teeth together is called bruxing. Since these acts are not part of normal function (chewing and swallowing) they are called parafunction.Our teeth should normally only meet together for a few minutes in every 24hrs, but if we are parafunctioning this increases significantly and teeth will wear.

Parafunctioning may occur during sleep and so many patients are totally unaware. Others notice that they clench when tense or when doing certain activities. Parafunction is often painless and as tooth wear progresses very gradually it is easily overlooked. Some patients may experience cold and touch sensitivity, like an electric shock when the neck of the tooth is touched by a finger nail. This is because the neck of the tooth flexes and cracks with excessive forces which together with erosion and abrasion can create a wedge like lesion called an abfraction cavity.

What should I do to minimise the risk of dental attrition / parafunction?

Erosion

Erosion is increasingly evident, affecting all ages and requires additional preventive care

The signs of dental erosion may include:

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What causes dental erosion?

The cause of dental erosion is acid attack. Sources of acid in the mouth are dietary, gastric or occupational.

Every time acid touches the surface of your teeth the enamel becomes softer and loses some of its mineral content. Your saliva will slowly neutralise the acid in your mouth and restore it to its natural balance. However, if the acid attack happens too frequently, the teeth do not have a chance to repair themselves and tiny particles of enamel can be washed or worn away. Minerals dissolve from the tooth surface and like a cliff face with a tide moving in and out, eventually collapses lost forever.

Dietary foods and drinks containing acid are the most common causes of erosion. Examples include fruit, pickles, fizzy drinks, energy and sports drinks, wine, squashes and fruit juices. Many of these foods and drinks also contain natural or added sugar which can in addition cause tooth decay.

A diet of frequent acidic food and drinks will cause tooth wear. The type of acid, calcium chelating properties, temperature and exposure time are factors that determine the amount of erosion that occurs.The lower the pH of a product, the more acidic it is but products such as citrus fruits appear worse as they bind (chelate) more calcium from the tooth. Hence orange juice is actually worse than cola.

Any food or drink with a pH lower than 5 may cause tooth wear and tooth sensitivity.

The pH of some common foods and drinks are indicated below:

Other factors that contribute to erosive tooth wear include:

Which gastric conditions contribute to erosion?

Which occupations might risk erosion?

What should I do to minimise the risk of dental erosion?

Remember

Maintaining your body’s fluid levels by drinking water frequently is the best way to prevent a dry mouth, quench thirst and protect teeth from dental erosion.

Click on image below to view official site

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Referrals

Dental and medical professionals who wish to make a referral to us please click on the link below

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