Are you starting to notice flat, worn areas on the teeth throughout your mouth? Depending on what’s causing it, there are steps you can take to prevent additional wear.
It’s true that enamel is the hardest substance in our bodies, but enamel-on-enamel wear can cause your teeth to wear each other out. Here are some important strategies we may recommend if you show signs of worn enamel during your next Mesa dental exam:
Bruxism — or chronic teeth clenching and grinding — is a subconscious habit that can occur while we’re sleeping. If you suffer from bruxism, you’ll likely experience symptoms of tooth wear, headaches, jaw pain, or TMJ disorder.
Wearing a night guard reduces the tension within your jaws and eliminates the pressure on your teeth. A professionally fitted appliance will offer the best protection and a higher level of comfort. Although over-the-counter guards may seem more convenient, their bulkier fit makes them more likely to get taken out while you’re sleeping. When that’s the case, they don’t work at all. Durable acrylic night guards last longer, stay put when you need them to, fit like a glove, and only require a quick impression of your teeth for us to make one.
Daytime Bite Splints
Some of us are daytime teeth grinders. And since night guards tend to be a larger device, they’re not as easy to wear (or work in) during the daytime hours. A slimmer bite splint may be more appropriate and can be stored in your desk, briefcase, or purse.
Bite splints train your jaws to relax, eliminating the source of tension that causes teeth grinding. Especially during your commute home from work or after you had to handle that challenging client. The goal is to ultimately “teach” your TMJ to relax so that your teeth aren’t touching when your mouth is at rest. When that happens, you can store your bite splint until symptoms start to flare-up again.
Tooth misalignment is one of the biggest contributing factors to worn down teeth. When your teeth don’t line up properly, they bite against one another in an unhealthy manner. Each time you sit down for a meal and start to chew your food, the teeth wear against each other in an irregular manner.
By adjusting your tooth alignment with clear aligners or braces, we can establish a proper chewing pattern that maximizes the anatomical design of your teeth. That way the grooves, cusps, and biting surfaces fit that of their opposing neighbor. When they do, you’ll be able to chew more efficiently and eliminate the risk of additional tooth wear.
Replace Missing Teeth
Do you have missing teeth? Are you planning to have a tooth extracted in the near future? An open space in your bite can lead to shifting teeth, changes in your biting patterns, or having to chew your food in a different part of your mouth. All of these factors can predispose your enamel to irregular wear or sharp edges. The best thing to do to prevent them is to replace your missing tooth as quickly as possible.
Eastport Dental provides a variety of tooth replacement options to fit the needs of our patients. From dental implants and bridges to removable partial dentures, we can fill in the space so that you’re able to smile and chew confidently on a day-to-day basis. The replacement will also help to preserve the natural spacing and alignment of your remaining teeth.
Meditation, mindfulness, exercise, and rest are just a few ways to help you cut out the tension inside of your body that’s caused by stress. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to completely eliminate stress, especially if it’s related to specific work, health, or family situations. But it is possible to reduce our stress response and thereby lessen our chances of the clenching/grinding/bruxism that frequently accompanies it.
What’s Causing My Teeth Grinding?
It can take a bit of detective work to nail down the underlying cause of your enamel wear or bruxism. In addition to the above-mentioned factors, issues like enamel erosion can also cause worn looking teeth.
Once teeth are worn down, there’s no way to get the enamel back. Severe wear may require reconstruction with crowns or other restorations.
If you’re experiencing the early signs of tooth wear or are starting to notice flat, sharp edges on your teeth, then it’s time to visit our Mesa dentist. Call Eastport Dental today to reserve an appointment with Dr. Huynh. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have!