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Understanding Tooth Wear

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full set of teeth from the frontTooth wear is a dental condition where the surface and structure of teeth are progressively reduced as a result of internal and/or external forces placed upon them.
teeth worn down from grindingWhen hard tooth material is worn away as a result of teeth grinding and/or clenching, it is called attrition. The extent of wear damage depends on the amount of grinding, and is typically more severe in individuals who exhibit this behavior in their sleep.
top down view of teeth worn downThe reduction of hard tooth material due to chemical forces is called erosion. It can be caused by drinking acidic beverages like soda, or by medical conditions like acid reflux or bulimia. Over time, this acid dissolves the outer enamel of the teeth and can expose the softer underlying dentin layer.
a blue tooth brush brushing teethWear caused an outside object is called abrasion. Abrasion can be caused by improper tooth brushing technique, excessive use of toothpicks, and the use of the teeth as a tool.
close up of teeth with grooves worn inAbrasion can also result in grooves and notches in the enamel that can also expose the dentin.
full set of teeth with extreme wearExcessive tooth wear causes many oral health complications, including unattractive and irregular tooth levels, jagged and sharp tooth edges, tooth pain and eventual loss of the teeth all together. As the harder outer surface of the tooth is worn away, the softer dentin will be exposed speeding up the process.
full set of teeth from the sideThere are preventative and corrective treatment options for patients experiencing tooth wear issues. Treatment will vary based on the cause of wear and when it is detected, making it critical to work closely with your dentist to proactively treat the issue before more damage is sustained.
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