Tooth wear is the loss of the tooth’s surface that is not caused by decay or trauma. This issue can affect the enamel, dentine, or pulp of a tooth and is split into three types:
This is the mechanical wearing down of the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This is caused by excessive tooth to tooth contact, such as in bruxism. Attrition causes teeth to lose their cusps and become flat and unsightly. It can also cause sensitivity.
Abrasion is the wearing down of the tooth surface due to an incorrect brushing technique. Furthermore, the use of a hard brush can also be to blame. Abrasion causes the gums to recede and exposes the dentine on the root surfaces of the teeth. This can result in an unsightly yellow colour on the teeth and can make the teeth more sensitive.
Erosion is the loss of tooth structure due to exposure to acidic substances which dissolve away the surface of the tooth. Fizzy drinks and citrus fruit juices have high acid content and can cause erosion. Acidic fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits can cause erosion too.
Certain medical problems also cause erosion:
With tooth wear, it is very important that the cause is correctly identified and managed. Also, some patients suffer from more than one cause of tooth wear. Simply treating one cause of wear and ignoring the other will not stop the damage to the patient’s teeth.
Once the type and cause of the tooth wear is correctly identified, a prevention programme should be put in place to stop further damage. Damage already caused by tooth wear should be repaired by an experienced dentist or prosthodontist. At Pearl Dental Clinic, we treat simple to complex tooth wear cases.