Tooth Wear

What Is Tooth Wear?

Tooth Wear in Two Rivers, WI With proper care, your teeth can last a lifetime. But some amount of wear as we age is normal. By “wear,” we mean the loss of tooth structure. Wear starts with loss of the hard, translucent enamel that forms the outer covering of teeth, and might, in more serious cases, progress to the softer inner tooth structure known as dentin.

Enamel is actually the human body's hardest substance. It is highly mineralized and non-living, in contrast to bone and dentin which are living tissues. Enamel is highly resistant to wear and chemical attack, as it would have to be given what your teeth do every day: bite, chew, and come in contact with acidic foods and drinks.

Still, it is possible for tooth enamel to wear down for various reasons. Your body has ways of compensating for minor wear. But when tooth wear becomes more significant, intervention may be necessary to keep your bite functioning properly and protect your teeth.

Types of Tooth Wear

Tooth wear can result from one or more of these processes:

Tooth Wear in Two Rivers, WI Abrasion: This is caused by the interaction of teeth and other materials rubbing or scraping against them. The most common source of abrasion is traumatic toothbrushing, meaning that you are using a toothbrush that's too hard or applying too much force when you brush. This can affect the root surfaces of your teeth just below the gum line or the enamel above the gum line. Other causes of abrasion can include improper use of toothpicks and dental floss. Some dental appliances such as partial dentures or retainers that are frequently taken in and out of the mouth can also abrade teeth. Abrasion can also result from a diet loaded with abrasive foods like sun flower seeds and nuts or habits such as nail-biting and pen-chewing.

Attrition: This is an effect of tooth-to-tooth contact, which happens many times throughout the day as your teeth bite and chew food. Biting and chewing normally generate forces between 13 - 23 pounds. Yet people who have clenching and grinding habits (of which they might not even be aware) can subject their teeth to forces up to 10 times that. This can damage teeth.

Erosion: When your teeth come in contact with acidic substances in your diet, the acid can actually erode (dissolve) the enamel on your teeth. Culprits of this kind of tooth wear often include sodas, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks. Certain fruit juices are also acidic. Confining these drinks to mealtimes and swishing water in your mouth after drinking them can help prevent this erosion.

Abfraction: This refers specifically to the loss of tooth enamel at the necks of the teeth (the thinner part right at the gum line). While this type of wear is not clearly understood and the cause is debated in dentistry, loss of tooth structure at the neck of teeth does happen. It is believed to be caused by tooth flexion from biting forces. Abrasion and erosion can contribute to this problem.

Treating Worn Teeth

In order to treat your worn teeth, the cause of the wear must be determined during a simple oral examination at the dental office. Once the cause has been identified, the stresses on your teeth can be reduced if need be. For example, you may need instruction on gentle, effective tooth brushing techniques; or some changes to your diet. If you have a clenching or grinding habit, a mouthguard can be custom-made for you that will protect your teeth during sleep or periods of high stress.

Lost tooth structure sometimes needs to be replaced so your bite functions properly and your teeth look great once again. Depending on the situation, this can be done with bonding, veneers, or crowns. Fortunately, modern dentistry can restore the normal shape, appearance and function of worn teeth — beautifully and successfully!

Do you want to prevent or treat tooth wear?
Call Two Rivers Family Dental in Two Rivers, WI
at (920) 794-8947 to schedule an appointment!

Related Articles

Tooth Wear - Dear Doctor Magazine

How & Why Teeth Wear Are teeth supposed to last for a lifetime? And are humans designed to live for up to a hundred years? Given all the current improvements in the areas of medicine and health, both general and oral, people are not only living longer, but they are also keeping their teeth longer. This article will provide an overview of the “oral system” and one of its more common and important occurrences, tooth wear... Read Article

Grinding Teeth - Dear Doctor Magazine

When Children Grind Their Teeth Many children grind their teeth as they sleep, and the grating sounds of this habit can really set a parent's own teeth on edge. But is tooth grinding (also called “bruxism”) harmful? And can — or should — anything be done to break the habit? Dear Doctor magazine shines a light on this unsettling nocturnal behavior... Read Article

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    Very friendly and Helpful

    I recently moved here from Green Bay where I had the same dentist for many years. He set the standard high for tooth care. We searched around this area and talked to patients from several dental offices to see what they had to say. The comments about Dr. Jamie at Two Rivers Family Dental were very good so we decided to give them a try. I came in with necessary dental work needing to be done and the normal amount of anxiety with it. I am happy to say we, "nailed it" with our choice. Dr. Jamie and her assistant Laurie could not be more thorough, personal and educational as she proceeds which helps me relax (somewhat-along with a little laughing gas)! The office from the minute you walk in till you leave is very friendly and helpful if I have any questions. She met the standard we were used to and I recommend her to everyone!!

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    I had an emergency for my tooth today. Two Rivers Family Dental got me in right away and the staff was fantastic!! Made me feel very comfortable! Thank you Dr. Hansen.

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    My teeth were in terrible shape and plus I did have one broken off ….I did not want to smile at all ….after Dr. Hansen finished fixing my teeth I can smile again... thank You Dr. Hansen and all your staff for helping me smile again.

    Joyce M. December 19th 2018

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    Great dental hygienist in Tracy and fine dental work done by Dr. Hansen. Julie knows insurance better than anyone!

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    I had recently got a check up and I needed a filing. They were kind and displayed the up most respectful manner in making my dental experience a positive one. I will continue to be a patient of The Two Rivers Family Dental.

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