Dr Saul Konviser discusses tooth surface loss, also known as tooth wear. Understanding the underlying causes is crucial for effective management. Here are some common causes and management strategies for tooth surface loss:

1. Bruxism (Teeth Grinding or Clenching):

  • Causes: Bruxism is a habit characterised by grinding or clenching the teeth, often during sleep or subconsciously. It can lead to significant tooth surface loss.
  • Management: Using a custom-made nightguard or splint can help protect the teeth from the grinding forces. Stress management techniques, relaxation exercises, and lifestyle adjustments may also be beneficial. In severe cases, your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment or other interventions.

2. Malocclusion (Misaligned Teeth):

  • Causes: Irregularities in tooth alignment or bite can result in uneven forces on the teeth, leading to localised tooth wear.
  • Management: Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or clear aligners, can help correct the misalignment and redistribute the forces evenly across the teeth. This can alleviate tooth wear and prevent further damage.

3. Acidic Diet and Beverages:

  • Causes: Frequent consumption of acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits, fizzy or sports drinks, can erode the tooth enamel over time.
  • Management: Limit the consumption of acidic foods and drinks. When consuming acidic substances, use a straw to minimise contact with the teeth, and rinse your mouth with water afterward. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after consuming acidic substances, as the enamel is temporarily softened and brushing can cause further damage. Wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing.

4. Aggressive Brushing Techniques:

  • Causes: Brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can accelerate tooth wear by eroding the enamel.
  • Management: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth using gentle circular motions. Avoid scrubbing back and forth vigorously. Additionally, consider using a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth or enamel protection.

5. Acid Reflux or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD):

  • Causes: Acid reflux, where stomach acid flows back into the mouth, can expose the teeth to acidic substances, leading to tooth surface loss.
  • Management: If you have acid reflux or GERD, consult with your healthcare provider for appropriate management strategies. They may recommend lifestyle modifications, medications, or other interventions to control acid reflux and minimise its impact on tooth enamel.

6. Eating Disorders:

  • Causes: Conditions such as bulimia nervosa, which involve recurrent episodes of vomiting, expose the teeth to stomach acid, resulting in significant tooth wear.
  • Management: Seeking professional help is crucial for managing eating disorders. Dental treatment can focus on protecting the teeth and addressing any immediate concerns. Simultaneously, the overall health and psychological aspects should be addressed through appropriate therapy and support.

7. Other Factors:

  • Other factors contributing to tooth surface loss may include certain medications, excessive tooth clenching or nail-biting habits, and abrasive oral habits like using the teeth as tools.
  • Management: Identifying and addressing these specific habits or factors is essential. Modifying behaviours, seeking alternative habits or coping mechanisms, and maintaining regular dental check-ups can help prevent further tooth surface loss.

It’s important to consult with a dentist for a comprehensive evaluation of tooth wear and personalised management recommendations. They can assess the extent of tooth wear, identify the underlying causes, and provide appropriate treatment options to preserve your oral health and restore the appearance and function of your teeth.

If you have any questions or wish to book an appointment with Dr Saul, please contact him here