Worn or chipped teeth can be a sign of an underlying issue


Teeth are naturally very strong and due to various factors, they can get chipped or worn down. Our teeth are coated with a tough material known as enamel. Our teeth are designed to withstand the significant force caused by the grinding of our teeth or the hard food we eat.

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What causes teeth wear?

There are two types of tooth wear: mechanical and chemical.

Mechanical wear

Mechanical wear is caused by abrasion. Habits such as pen biting can contribute to mechanical wear, but the most common cause is direct contact with the tooth. Interestingly, our teeth don’t touch when we chew as there is food between them teeth. They only come into contact with each other when we swallow, or if we clench or grind our teeth.

Tooth clenching and grinding (also known as bruxism) is a subconscious activity that can put undue stress on your teeth. While it can occur during the day, it is most damaging at night. Why? At night there is less saliva flow to lubricate your teeth. Another reason is because at night you are in a subconscious state and the brains that tell you how much force you are generating do not work, which leads to significant biting pressure.

This type of wear could be responsible for worn or chipped teeth

Chemical wear

Chemical wear is usually caused by acid erosion. Acids can come from either your stomach or your diet and they can have a significant impact on your enamel.

Stomach acids can make their way to your mouth due to medical issues like acid reflux disease or bulimia.

Foods such as citrus fruits, soda, candy, and wine can also damage your tooth enamel and impact the longevity of your teeth.

Once the hard enamel is worn through, the softer inner part of the tooth, the dentin is exposed. Once the dentin is exposed, it leads to the wearing of the tooth at a significant rate.

This type of wear could also contribute to worn or chipped teeth.

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Chipped Teeth Red Deer

You may have tooth wear and not even realize it

Tooth wear is slow and insidious, and many people are unaware of it until it becomes quite advanced and obvious, yet most adults show some signs of wear.

How do you determine if your teeth are wearing? Take a look at your smile.

  • Has it changed?
  • Do you notice small chips and fractures?
  • Are the edges no longer even?
  • Are your teeth getting shorter?
  • Has the enamel on your lower teeth been worn away?

These are all signs, you likely are experiencing tooth wear. In which case, you will want to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Red Deer, AB T4N 6V7.

Keep your teeth healthy and strong

Our amazing teeth are intended to last a lifetime, but they need care. Diligent brushing and flossing, and scheduling preventive dental exams and regular hygiene appointments are actions you can take to protect your teeth.

If teeth wear is caused by an overbite, malocclusion or teeth grinding, dental treatment could help. By addressing the root cause of the problem with a thorough examination, your dentist in Red Deer, AB T4N 6V7 can determine an appropriate treatment such as:

  • A night guard to help prevent nighttime tooth damage.
  • Orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign to create room for normal jaw movement.
  • A bite adjustment to help prevent future wear can be effective in some cases
  • Dental bonding, crowns or veneers to restore worn teeth

The sooner you address tooth wear the better. Early treatment is usually easier, cheaper and more effective.

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