Tooth wear is the loss of the tooth surface that is not caused by decay, which can happen as part of a natural wear process throughout life. In certain circumstances, due to diet, environmental, lifestyle factors along with biological factors in the mouth, tooth wear is accelerated causing permanent damage and potentially loss of teeth.
With advanced tooth wear, loss of large sections of the tooth surface enamel results in exposure of the underlying dentine, which can cause mild to severe sensitivity. The dental pulp may become damaged by severe wear, which causes infection, abscess and even tooth loss. The management of tooth wear is complex and time consuming and depends on the amount of tooth structure that has been lost and how much is remaining, the individual, and careful assessment in consideration of symptoms. In some cases teeth can be repaired using direct or indirect restorations, and treatment of the pulp if it has been damaged, and in other cases of extensive damage, extraction of a tooth may be required.
Tooth wear signs to look out for:
- Notches of tooth missing along the neck of your tooth near the gum line when you smile or when you run your finger nail against the smooth surface of your tooth near the gum line
- Lines of yellow dentine showing through at the biting edge of your teeth or yellow looking teeth
- Chipping away of the tooth or teeth that feel sharp
- Flatting of the edge of the teeth and shortening of the tooth as it wears away
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw muscles
- Lock jaw or tension headaches
- A change in the bite or pain when biting the teeth together
- Damaged fillings and teeth falling apart
- Fracture lines when you look at your teeth in bright light
- Thinning or weak feeling teeth
Think you’re grinding your teeth? We can help. Call Sonia on 07 3391 2504 to schedule an assessment with Dr Amy Daley or Dr Leila Haywood.