How do you fix worn down teeth?
Worn down teeth can appear unattractive, cause sensitivity, and lead to further oral health issues. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and fix worn down teeth.
Located in Southeast Michigan and need help with your worn down teeth? Contact our Ann Arbor dentists.
How to tell if your teeth are worn down
- Teeth are smaller in size. Your teeth may appear noticeably smaller if they have been worn down.
- Teeth are more sensitive. As protective enamel is worn away, your teeth become more sensitive.
- Teeth are chipped. Worn-down teeth are weaker and more prone to chips.
- Teeth have begun to yellow. Thin enamel can expose the layer beneath and give teeth a yellowing appearance.
Causes of worn down teeth
Worn down teeth can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Attrition (Teeth Grinding)
- Erosion (Caused by Acids)
- Abrasion (Chewing Things You Shouldn’t)
Years of use will naturally wear down your teeth. According to an article by Harvard Health, a lifetime of chewing and exposure to acidic foods will wear away and dissolve the protective outer layer of enamel and flatten biting edges over time.
Attrition: Teeth Grinding
Attrition is caused by tooth to tooth contact like teeth grinding. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common condition caused by stress and certain medications. Teeth grinding can occur while you are asleep or awake and wears down the teeth with repeated force. In addition to worn down teeth, this condition can also lead to jaw pain, headaches, or fractured or splitting teeth.
A dentist can help rule out any other potential causes of tooth grinding, like a TMJ disorder. The best treatment is a custom fabricated mouthguard, called an occlusal splint. The splint prevents further damage by becoming the barrier between natural teeth and the destruction of grinding.
Erosion Caused by Acids
Erosion is the loss of tooth enamel — “the hard, protective coating of the tooth” — by acid attack, according to the Oral Health Foundation. These “acid attacks” can be caused by:
- Sodas and other carbonated beverages
- Fruit juices
- Fruit, especially citrus
- Frequent vomiting, which can be caused by certain medical conditions
The Oral Health Foundation recommends limiting more acidic foods and drinks to mealtimes and waiting at least an hour after eating or drinking to brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Regular visits to the dentist can also help you be more proactive about your oral health and prevent further tooth erosion.
Abrasion: Chewing Things You Shouldn’t
Abrasion is caused by force created by something other than tooth to tooth contact. This can include habits like crunching ice, chewing pens, and fingernail biting. Brushing too hard can also cause abrasion.
How to fix worn down teeth
Your dentist can fix worn down teeth with crowns, veneers, or resin bonding. The treatment that will work best for you will depend on the extent of the damage and your smile goals.
Resin bonding restorations adhere resin to the worn down edges of your teeth and build them back up in a natural-looking way. The color of the resin will be the same as your tooth so the restoration is not noticeable.
This can be done in one appointment and is the least invasive treatment method, but is less permanent than porcelain restorations like crowns and veneers.
Porcelain veneers cover the front of the tooth to provide more strength and convert unattractive enamel. Veneers are custom-made and applied to existing teeth using a cement-like bonding agent. Your dentist will need to remove a layer of enamel from the existing tooth in order to apply the veneer, but it should not cause damage when done correctly.
This treatment is typically done in two appointments and is minimally invasive.
Porcelain crowns are used to completely cover the worn down tooth to help restore your oral health and prevent further damage. Each permanent crown is custom-made using an impression of your existing tooth and then fit into place using dental cement.
This treatment is typically done in two appointments and should not be painful. A crown can last multiple decades if you maintain good preventative dental habits.
Treatment for Worn Down Teeth Near You
Our Ann Arbor dentists can help patients in Southeast Michigan and beyond treat their worn down teeth. We employ an artistic and compassionate approach to maximize your outward appearance and inward health, with no-pressure consultations and transparent payment options.
We understand that some patients may avoid the dentist out of fear and put off treatment. Our dentists collaborate closely with patients to help them feel more informed and limit dental anxiety. We are also trained in a number of sedation dentistry techniques that can help patients overcome their discomfort with dental procedures.
Frequently asked questions about worn down teeth
Can worn teeth be built up?
Yes. A resin can be adhered to the worn teeth to build them back up.
How much does it cost to fix worn down teeth?
The cost of fixing worn down teeth will depend on a number of factors, including your dentist, location, the extent of the damage, and which procedure you are using to treat the issue.
What can be done for teeth that have worn down?
Worn down teeth can be fixed with resin bonding, veneers, or crowns.