Can Worn Down Teeth Be Fixed?
Tooth damage and tooth loss are issues that most people will have to deal with at some point in their lifetimes. The most common problems patients visit their dentist for are gum disease and cavities, but chronically clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth are major factors in the wearing down of teeth.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause many painful symptoms. Whether grinding is done during waking hours due to stress or habit or unconsciously while sleeping, serious damage can be done. Bruxism can cause jaw pain, irritate the gums, damage tooth enamel, and erode the teeth.
Cosmetic dentistry can help to repair the damage done by grinding. There are many techniques dentists utilize to fix the erosion caused by chronic bruxism. Depending on the level of damage, dental bonding material can be used, porcelain veneers or crowns can be affixed, or simply reshaping the teeth are all possible fixes to the problems caused by worn down teeth.
Modern dentistry uses a synthetic resin to fill in cavities. This same resin can be used to cover or fill in cracks or fractures in teeth caused by bruxism. If teeth are misshapen, chipped, or eroded due to natural aging, this resin can cover or be used to reshape the imperfections. Tooth bonding is a good choice for repairing minor damage as it generally does not require multiple visits and will not require anesthesia. The resin will be applied directly on top of the imperfections and so does not require drilling or other removal of dental structures.
For a more durable option than resin bonding material, many patients choose to have porcelain veneers attached to the front of their teeth. Veneers are thin porcelain material that is affixed to the front of the tooth and do very well in covering the imperfections caused by cracked enamel. The procedure usually requires multiple visits to the dentist but will greatly improve the appearance of teeth and provide a healthier bite.
A dental crown is a cap over a damaged tooth usually in the middle or back of the mouth. Crowns are made from a variety of materials ranging from metal to ceramic to synthetic resins. The procedure for attaching dental crowns will occur over at least two visits, and includes the filing down of the affected tooth in order to fit the cap on top. Normally only a local anesthetic is necessary, and the procedure is a good permanent solution to worn down teeth in the middle or back of the mouth.
Preventing Tooth Erosion
When repairs are done, the process that caused the damage may still be ongoing and may cause damage to the newly constructed teeth. For those suffering from bruxism caused by anxiety, stress, or habit, being aware that tooth grinding is taking place is the best first step to stopping it. A night guard is also highly recommended to prevent damaging the teeth while sleeping. And as always, keeping good daily oral hygiene is important as a healthy and clean mouth is less likely to be compromised by the decay caused by gum disease.