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Tooth Wear - Types, causes and treatment

Nowadays the population has fewer cavities than years ago, so fewer teeth are lost for this reason. Currently, periodontal disease (periodontitis) is one of the main causes of tooth loss, although not the only one. Tooth wear can also cause losing them. In this post we talk about the types of wear, their causes and treatment.  

1) What is tooth wear?

Tooth wear is the loss of enamel, the outermost structure of the teeth. In more advanced cases of wear, the dentin and root cement of the tooth can also be affected.

2) What types of dental wear exist?

Not all dental wear has the same degree and consideration. It is important to distinguish the type of wear that a tooth can suffer, since the treatment will vary depending on the origin. Among them we find dental abfraction, abrasion, attrition, erosion and resorption.


2a) Dental abfraction

Abfraction is a loss of tooth structure, normally due to continued trauma to the teeth caused by excessive force on them due to a bad bite. When tension zones are generated, microfractures are produced that, in the long term, can cause the loss of enamel, dentin and cementum.


2aa) What is the treatment of dental abfraction?

To treat dental abfraction, the first thing to do is eliminate the cause that produces it. As it is generally caused by a bad bite or occlusion, it is advisable to carry out a study to assess the ability to perform an orthodontic treatment and thus be able to place the teeth in their correct position and ensure that they mesh correctly with each other.


2b) Dental abrasion

Abrasion is a loss of tooth structure due to contact of the teeth with abrasive elements, such as the use of a toothbrush that is too hard or a technique that is too aggressive. These abrasions can also be caused by a poorly fitting removable prosthesis that causes progressive wear of the tooth.


2ba) What is the treatment of dental abrasions?

To treat a dental abrasion it is necessary to be able to restore the original anatomy and structure of the tooth, for which veneers, fillings, crowns and inlays are usually used depending on the severity of the wear. It is equally important to eliminate the causes of these abrasions, such as, for example, modifying brushing techniques, using a medium-hard brush or correctly adjusting the prostheses.

2c) Dental attrition

Attrition is the wear of tooth surfaces due to contact between them. This process occurs frequently in bruxist patients.


2ca) What is the treatment for dental attritions?

Being bruxism the main cause of this problem, the solution will be focused on solving this habit, either through orthodontic treatment and / or the use of discharge splints.

2d) Dental erosion

Dental erosion is the destruction of the tooth surface caused by external elements, usually chemicals and/or acids, such as those contained in carbonated beverages. An excessive consumption of them can cause the loss of enamel. This problem is also suffered by people with esophageal reflux or eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia, since the frequent contact of gastric acids with the surface of the teeth, cause them to progressively erode.

Erosion is slow to progress and can go unnoticed before the patient notices any symptoms (sensitivity to changes in temperature, sweets, acids, etc.). Unlike dental caries, erosion occurs even in places where there is no dental plaque.


2da) What is the treatment for dental erosions?

To treat dental erosions, the main thing, as with the previous ones, is to eliminate the causative stimulus. This is, for example, reducing the consumption of carbonated or acidic beverages in patients who consume many. If the problem comes from eating disorders or esophageal reflux, you should put yourself in the hands of a specialist in the field.


2e) Root resorption

Dental or root resorption are defects in a tooth that can affect enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp. These defects are usually caused by trauma, orthodontic treatment, cysts, impacted teeth, systemic, idiopathic or genetic diseases. Resorptions can be external or internal.


2ea) What is the treatment for root resorption?

Depending on the area affected by the resorption, itcan have different treatments, which can include root canal treatment, fillings, inlays or, in very advanced cases, tooth extraction.


3) What are the signs of dental wear?

As dental wear tends to be very gradual, it is not always easy to detect this problem. However, there are some indicators that can help us in this process:

3a) Color change in the teeth

As the enamel deteriorates, the dentin becomes transparent through it, showing a more yellowish color. That is why people with dental wear tend to have more yellowish teeth.


3b) Dental Fractures and Cracks

A friction and excessive contact between the teeth can also produce small cracks in the surface of the tooth or even fractures.


3c) Dental sensitivity

As the outermost and protective layer of the tooth, which is the enamel, is lost, stimuli such as cold, sweet or acid can be transmitted more easily to the dentin and to the interior of the tooth, that is, to the nerve or pulp.


3d) Tooth pain

When tooth wear is already advanced, it can cause pulpitis, that is, an inflammation of the dental pulp, a very painful problem.


3e) Reduction of the vertical dimension

The vertical dimension is the height of the teeth when biting. A decreased vertical dimension due to tooth wear can give a more aged appearance (as there is less distance between the chin and the nose), cause problems in the temporomandibular joints and cause problems of angular cheilitis at the corners of the lips.


4) How can dental wear be prevented?

Like almost any other oral problem, dental wear is preventable by following certain guidelines. Some general ones:

  • Use toothbrushes of medium hardness.
  • Use toothpastes with a low abrasiveness index.
  • Do not brush your teeth immediately after consuming acidic foods or drinks.
  • Periodically visit the dentist.


4a) Treatment of dental wear in A Coruña

If you live in A Coruña and suffer a problem related to dental wear, our team of dentists will be happy to assist you and provide you with a solution. We are waiting for you!

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