ABNORMAL TOOTH WEAR
1. What causes abnormal tooth wear? In most cases abnormal tooth wear is caused by bruxism (grinding) & clenching the teeth. Abnormal wear patterns can usually be seen on the affected teeth. Most often the grinding or clenching occurs at night when the patient is not aware of it, however clenching during the day can be observed by watching the muscles of the cheek flex while the patient is clenching.
2. What is the therapy for bruxism or clenching? Very few cures or treatments for bruxism have been claimed or proved, & the most predictable & successful technique is preventive. A barrier (night guard or occlusal splint) is placed between the teeth to stop grinding. Such appliances are more wear-prone than enamel or dentin, & they receive the wear rather than the teeth. The typical resin splint lasts 2 years or more when worn at night & during psychologically stressed days.
3. Are there any factors that I can control to reduce grinding? Studies have shown that abstaining from caffeine products such as coffee, tea, chocolate and colas during the afternoons and evening can reduce the incidence of abnormal grinding. Also going to bed at drastically different times each night or periodically awakening during each night have been shown to increase incidence of bruxism.
4. My teeth are extremely worn and I am concerned about their appearance - can anything be done?
Yes, however treatment requires placement of porcelain veneers and /or crowns on some or all of the teeth.