What Causes Tooth Wear?

Categories: TMJ Disorder
Tags: No Tags
Comments: Comments Off
Published on: February 13, 2012

Unexplained tooth wear may stem from acid erosion or nutritional deficiencies, but is most often caused by bruxism (grinding of the teeth). If your back teeth feel sensitive to pressure and temperature changes, tooth wear and the pressure of bruxism may be the cause.  If you see spots on the edges of the teeth where the enamel is pitted, tooth wear is the cause.

Why is Tooth Wear a Problem?

The habit of clenching, grinding, and/or gnashing teeth during the day or while sleeping, is called bruxism. In most cases, nocturnal bruxism is subconscious, so you probably will not realize that you are a bruxer. Over time, however, pressure and friction from bruxism cause tooth enamel to wear away, and teeth weaken. Bruxism can eventually cause tiny cracks in tooth enamel,and make teeth more vulnerable to fracture.

Tooth wear can also change the relationship between upper and lower teeth, leading to malocclusion which may lead to more bruxism.

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints. Your TMJ joints connect the lower jaw to the skull, just below the ears. Surrounding these joints are many muscles and nerves that allow movement of the lower jaw. If TMJ joints are misaligned, muscles surrounding your jaw can become stressed. Associated nerves become confused, sending pain signals to the brain. You may have TMJ disorder if your jaw is sore, tired, or painful. Other symptoms include popping and clicking of the jaw joints, pain in the face, head, neck, shoulders, and/or low back, and bruxism. Some people experience chronic earaches or tingling extremities, as well.

How Does Dr. Seal Treat Tooth Wear?

To reduce the potential for continued tooth wear, Dr. Seal must diagnose and treat the problem.   He may recommend an oral splint to reduce the grinding and clenching.  For most cases, this simple appliance is effective.  On rare occasions, some or many of the teeth may need to be built up, or orthodontics might be necessary, to restore proper occlusion.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, unexplained tooth fractures, or any of the symptoms outlined above, contact our North Dallas prosthodontics office at (214) 361-0883. Dr. Greg Seal serves patients in the SMU and Katy Trail area, as well as Highland Park and University Park.