With age, our teeth can naturally become worn down, which can result in many negative consequences.

If your tooth enamel becomes worn away on the top of the tooth, you can end up with shorter teeth, which shrinks your face and diminishes your smile. As the tooth enamel becomes worn down on the sides as well, it can make your teeth look yellower or grayer as the dentin shows through the enamel. This type of discoloration does not respond to

teeth whitening. Wear on all sides of your teeth can make them more vulnerable to decay and more prone to sensitivity.

But what causes wear on your teeth? There are really three different kinds of tooth wear.

Tooth-to-Tooth Wear: Attrition

Attrition is the word we use to describe the wear of your teeth from contact with one another. Most of the time, your teeth are the hardest things in your mouth, so it makes sense that these would be responsible for most of the wear on your teeth. There is some dispute about whether certain types of restorations (such as all-ceramic dental crowns) may cause accelerated wear on opposing teeth, and it’s not confirmed that TMJ actually contributes to increased tooth wear, but we do know that bruxism leads to increased tooth wear.

Tooth Wear by Abrasion

Worn teeth, By Jeffrey Dorfman on WikimediaWhen your teeth suffer wear from contact with other materials in your mouth, it is described as abrasion. The most common cause of abrasion is improper oral hygiene, especially the use of abrasive toothpastes and aggressive brushing style.

However, food is also capable of causing significant wear on your teeth, depending on what types of food you eat. Raw foods and hard grains are especially rough on teeth.

You can also cause significant abrasion if you are chewing on things other than food, such as your nails, pen lids, and other nervous chewing objects.

Tooth Wear by Erosion or Corrosion

Another source of tooth wear is erosion or corrosion, when your teeth come in contact with acidic substances that are capable of dissolving them. The source of acid can be internal, such as gastric juices, which contact your teeth because of vomiting or GERD. Or the acid source can be external, such as acidic drinks like soda.

Preventing Further Damage and Repairing Current Damage

If your teeth have suffered damage as a result of any type of wear, we can identify the cause and help you avoid future damage to your teeth. Reconstructive dentistry can also be used to restore your teeth to their former appearance and function.

To learn more about undoing the effects of wear on your teeth, please call (949) 551-5902 today for an appointment with an Irvine cosmetic dentist at Rice Dentistry.