Tooth wear is a very common problem, but most people don’t understand how serious it can be. Most people with serious tooth wear don’t identify it until it’s very late and major restorative work is done. Although we can perform full mouth reconstruction, it’s much better to identify and treat these problems early.
So, how can you tell that your teeth are wearing down too fast? Here are some signs of tooth wear that can warn you, hopefully before it’s too late.
Different Color Tooth Material Visible Inside
The entire outer layer of your tooth is made of enamel. It’s pretty uniform in color and texture, with the exception of staining. But if you wear off the outer layer of enamel, you can see the second layer of your tooth, called dentin, which is a different color, generally more yellowish.
If you can see different colored tooth material on the biting surfaces of your teeth, you have worn away all the enamel on the biting surface and you are experiencing serious tooth wear.
The multiple layers of your tooth help protect the innermost part of the tooth, known as the pulp. This is the living part of the tooth, the one with nerves that can feel pain. The enamel provides a hard shell to protect the pulp as well as additional insulation. When the enamel is gone, the pulp is much more exposed.
If you are feeling sensitivity to pressure or temperature, then it’s likely that your teeth have lost a lot of their protection to wear.
Teeth Are All the Same Height
Most people have teeth of different heights when they first emerge. The central incisors (the two center teeth on the top) are usually longer than the teeth on either side of them. Then there are the canines, which are sharp and a little longer, but not as long as the centrals. But with wear, these teeth can all come to be the same height.
Look at old pictures of your smile, then compare your current smile. If your teeth are the same length now or closer to the same length than they used to be, then you’re experience significant tooth wear.
Teeth Are Developing a Slant
Sometimes, excessive tooth wear doesn’t make all your teeth the same height. If your bite is imbalanced, you might experience much more wear on one side of the mouth than the other. Instead of becoming all the same height, your teeth develop a definite slant, with teeth on one side noticeably longer than the other.
If you’ve noticed that your teeth are slanting off to one side, it’s time to contact a neuromuscular dentist because you have more than just tooth wear to worry about.
Tooth wear doesn’t just affect your teeth. Your teeth are the support structure for the entire third of your face. As your teeth wear down, your face will shrink. It may be just a small difference, but it can change the proportions of your face. An oval or heart-shaped face can become more rounded.
If you’ve noticed that your face seems to be losing height in the lower third of the face, you might be experiencing serious tooth wear.
We Can Help
Once you identify tooth wear, it’s time to figure out how to stop it. Columbus neuromuscular dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian can identify bite problems that might be contributing to tooth wear and other symptoms. In addition, he can track down diet and other factors that might be contributing to your wear. Then, together, you can design a treatment plan to stop and then repair damage to your teeth.
To learn more about how to counter tooth wear in Columbus, OH, please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment at Firouzian Dentistry.