As you age, it’s common to get slightly worn-down teeth or worn-down molars.
You use your teeth frequently, so it’s hard to avoid wear. But too much wear on teeth can lead teeth to wear down to the dentin layer (the layer directly under the hard outer enamel layer of teeth). Teeth worn down to dentin will be more sensitive and likely cause pain in your mouth when you eat or drink. They’ll also be weaker and more susceptible to decay.
If you’ve recently thought, “My teeth are wearing down, what do I do?”, keep reading.
We’re sharing expert insight into worn-down teeth and worn teeth repair. Learn all about the causes of worn-down teeth, what to do if you’ve grinded down some teeth, and how to fix worn-down teeth.
The 3 Main Causes of Worn Down Teeth (and Tips to Prevent Further Wear)
It’s essential to protect your teeth from too much unnecessary wear. Here are the three main reasons for worn-down teeth and some ways to prevent teeth from wearing down too quickly.
1. Grinded Down Teeth
Grinding or clenching teeth (bruxism) is another frequent cause of worn-down teeth, especially worn-down molars. The added pressure placed on teeth during clenching or grinding can result in quickened and heightened tooth wear.
Often, people who grind their teeth do it unconsciously during the day, night, or both. The easiest way to prevent tooth wear from grinding is to wear an occlusal guard (or nightguard). Most people who grind their teeth wear a nightguard, you guessed it, at night, but rarely wear one during the day. Controlling grinding or clenching during daytime hours often comes down to recognizing the habit and exercising self-control to stop.
There are some potential links between stress and grinding or clenching teeth. If you find that you grind when you’re stressed, it’s a good idea to find ways to manage stress. Lowering your stress level may keep you from grinding or clenching your teeth regularly.
2. Acidic Food and Drink
Lastly, consuming highly acidic foods or drinks can also lead to teeth wearing down. The acid in citrus foods or acidic beverages slowly removes enamel (the hard outermost layer of teeth) from teeth. Reduced enamel can lead to tooth sensitivity and an increased risk of cavities.
The most commonly consumed acidic items are:
- Citrus fruits and juices (e.g., lemon, orange, apple)
- Sports drinks
- Flavored teas
It’s best to try to stay away from these items altogether. But if you do indulge in them now and then, here are some ways to lessen the acidic effects on your teeth:
- Use a straw
- Rise your mouth with water after consuming something acidic
- Wait an hour before brushing your teeth
- Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash
All foods will cause bacteria and plaque to form on your teeth, leading to tooth decay without a proper oral hygiene routine. However, acidic foods and beverages more heavily and quickly wear down your teeth.
3. Teeth Wearing Down Naturally
One of the most common causes of worn-down teeth is natural wear and tear. Years of using your teeth can lead to enamel wearing down.
There’s not much you can do to prevent natural wear, but there are some ways to slow it down and keep your teeth strong and healthy:
- Use a soft toothbrush
- Maintain a proper dental hygiene routine
- See your dentist regularly
- Intake sufficient fluoride or get a dental fluoride treatment
If you’re worried about your tooth wear or think you may have some contributing factors, talk to your dentist. But again, some tooth wear is normal and will occur over time.
Now you know how teeth wear down. Let’s move on and answer the questions “Can you fix ground down teeth” and “How do you fix worn-down molars and teeth?”
How to Fix Worn Down Teeth
You can fix teeth worn down from grinding or other causes. There are three main ways dentists treat worn-down teeth.
Crowns are caps placed on top of damaged or grinded down teeth. They’re made of metal, porcelain, or ceramic material and look, feel, and act like natural teeth. Crowns are one of the best teeth grinding repair options for worn-down molars.
Getting dental crowns usually takes two visits. During the first visit, the dentist will:
- Take x-rays of your mouth
- File down the teeth receiving crowns
- Make an impression of your teeth
- Place a temporary crown on your teeth
The dentist sends the impression to a lab where they make your long-term crowns. Once the lab completes the crowns, you’ll return to the dentist for permanent crown placement.
A dental crown will strengthen and protect your existing teeth, allowing you to perform routine functions with your mouth. However, you’ll still want to perform a daily oral hygiene routine and regularly see your dentist to ensure your teeth stay healthy after receiving crowns.
2. Dental Bonding
A second method that dentists use to fix worn-down teeth is a procedure called dental bonding. Dental bonding involves placing a tooth-colored resin on a tooth and hardening it in place. The dentist will shape the resin on your teeth to make them look natural.
Dental bonding is a quick procedure that usually takes about 30-60 minutes. This procedure is also easier and less expensive than dental crowns or veneers (more on these shortly). However, dental bonding isn’t nearly as strong as crowns or veneers and is often only used to fix broken or ground down front teeth.
But if your grinding isn’t too severe and simply involves some minor cosmetic work, dental bonding can be an excellent, inexpensive way to restore teeth.
A third worn teeth repair option is veneers.
Veneers are a thin piece of porcelain placed over the front of your teeth. Like a crown or dental bonding, a veneer is a way to restore the look, feel, and function of worn-down teeth. They’re primarily used to repair front teeth, specifically upper front teeth. So if your teeth have become chipped due to wear, veneers could be a good option.
Veneers are the most expensive option of the three worn-teeth repair options, and the process takes about 1-2 weeks. But veneers are one of the most natural-looking and beautiful restorative options.
An important note about veneers is that they require personal upkeep. Even though they cover the front of your tooth, you can still get cavities with veneers.
Where to Get Worn-Down Molars Repaired in Richmond, VA
Teeth wear down naturally over time. Practicing good oral hygiene and attending regular dental check-ups can slow down normal wear and keep teeth healthy.
Some habits like grinding teeth or regularly consuming acidic drinks can have adverse effects on teeth. These habits are a leading cause of teeth wearing down more quickly than expected. You can combat grinding by wearing a night guard and managing stress levels during the day. Cutting back on acidic drinks and following some of the tips outlined above can also help reduce tooth wear.
If you do have worn-down molars or front teeth, there are repair options available. Depending on your situation, your dentist may recommend dental crowns, dental bonding, or veneers.
At Northside Dental Co. in Richmond, VA, we know how to fix worn-down teeth. Our highly trained dentists are experts in restorative dental procedures. They’ll take the time to consult with you about your oral situation and provide insight into the best treatment options. Whether you need advice on slowing down natural tooth wear or teeth grinding repair procedures, we’ve got you covered.
Book your appointment online today. Our staff is ready to welcome you into the office and walk with you on your dental journey.