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Long-term problems with teeth wearing down

People are living longer these days. With advancements in healthcare such as fluoridated toothpastes and better oral hygiene, teeth are lasting longer. However, through “wear and tear”, teeth are often worn away, and this leads to a number of problems. I would like to deal with the management of worn and discoloured teeth in this feature.

Why do teeth wear away?

Teeth are covered by a very strong, protective outer layer called enamel. This enamel can be damaged in one of two ways: attrition (which is when teeth grind against each other) or erosion (which is when acid damages or erodes the enamel away). Once the inner layer called dentine is exposed, the teeth wear away much faster as dentine is a lot softer than enamel. A useful analogy is to compare enamel to granite and dentine to chalk.

Who is more at risk from wearing teeth down?

People who clench or grind their teeth (especially at night whilst asleep) put excessive forces on their teeth. This can lead to extra stresses on the teeth and fillings. This results in cracks in the teeth and also chipping away of the outer enamel layer. This has a net result of shortening the teeth, which makes them less attractive and more sensitive. Acid can also ERODE teeth away. Acid can either come from the diet, or from within the body. Food and drinks that cause damage to the enamel include citric fruits, fruit juices, fizzy drinks, and excessive alcohol. Conditions such as anorexia, gastro-oesophageal reflux and pregnancy vomiting can also take their toll on teeth!

What is the best treatment for worn teeth?

Teeth that have been damaged by grinding and acid, require comprehensive dentistry to restore the teeth to how they were.Crowns and porcelain veneers are sometimes used to improve the appearance, health and function of the teeth. White fillings can also be a suitable, more cost effective alternative. The earlier the treatment is carried out, the better the long-term results. For people that grind their teeth, it is important to provide a protective mouth guard made from plastic, which should be worn at night.

What is the best place to start?

Without a doubt – having a comprehensive dental assessment, which includes photographs, X-rays, impressions for making duplicate models of your teeth, etc. We offer one of the most comprehensive assessments in the UK. Our goal is to deliver a healthy and long lasting, attractive smile to suit your face, age and personality. We only work with very skilled and experienced master ceramist technicians that create truly artistic crowns and veneers, which are shaped like natural teeth.

So, if you are worried about the health or appearance of your teeth, then phone 020 8500 0544 to arrange a complimentary initial consultation.

Ash Parmar, Smile Design by Ash, 6 Chigwell Rise, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 6AB

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