Help Me With

Worn Teeth

Worn teeth describes the erosion, abrasion and gradual loss of teeth. It’s when the tooth’s outer surface wears away.

Your teeth are covered in a protective hard shell called enamel. This outer layer provides protection from hot, cold and sugary food and drinks. Enamel gives your teeth their white colour. Without it, teeth can appear yellow and flat and can become sensitive.

Enamel can't be replaced naturally but it can be controlled - and sometimes repaired. Many things can damage enamel including fillings, decay, acidic food and drinks. Sometimes enamel is damaged by clenching and grinding, which crack or flatten teeth. This condition is known as bruxism.

Symptoms of worn teeth

Worn teeth can be from dental erosion or abrasion, where your teeth or and gums are damaged by something external, like overly vigorous brushing. It can also be from attrition, which is where something internal is the cause, like teeth grinding, or bruxism.

Symptoms of worn teeth can include having hollows and the surface and edges of your teeth wearing away. You may notice you have yellow teeth, due to the enamel slowly eroding. Sensitivity can also be present, which you may notice when you eat or drink something that's hot, cold, sugary or acidic.

Causes of worn teeth

Tooth erosion typically happens when your teeth have been exposed to something acidic. This causes the enamel to become softer and it can start to erode. Your saliva is alkaline. It helps to balance any acidity. If there's too much acid present or it occurs repeatedly, you mouth may not have time to repair itself and your enamel may slowly be worn away.

Acid in the mouth comes from a number of sources. It's most often from sugary food and drinks like  sodas, fruit juice, alcohol and vinegar. Drinks high in caffeine can also cause problems. Other things that can contribute include:

  • Vomiting often
  • Some medications, including aspirin and vitamin C
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Brushing your teeth too hard

Get prepared

When you book at one of our dental practices for worn teeth, you want to know get it seen to as soon as possible. That’s understandable. It’s useful to think ahead about what your dentist will need to know to diagnose and treat you.

Generally your dentist will ask you about your medical history and then thoroughly examine your mouth, teeth, gums, jaw, tongue, throat, sinuses, ears, nose and neck. You may also need an x-ray, depending on what your dentist suspects might be the cause of your worn teeth.

Your dentist will ask you some questions about your teeth such as:

  • Have you noticed any changes?
  • Do you have any pain?
  • How severe is the pain?
  • Is hot, cold, or sugar a problem?

Think about your answers to these questions before your appointment. Being prepared can speed up the diagnosis.

Have questions?

The price of treating worn teeth varies depending on the condition of your teeth. We recommend that you see a dentist to gain a good understanding of your teeth. Your dentist will be able to assess and offer advice about the cost of any treatment. When you book online, simply select worn teeth as the appointment reason.

Enamel is the hard, outer surface of your teeth. It gives your teeth their white colour and it protects the dentine underneath. When enamel is worn away, it can't be replaced naturally. Enamel can be susceptible to damage from abrasion and acidic, hot and cold food and drink.

You may notice the surfaces and edges of your teeth wearing away and you may see hollows in your teeth. The appearance of your teeth may seem more yellow, as the worn enamel makes way for the yellow dentine underneath. People often find their teeth become more sensitive if enamel has worn away.

Worn enamel cannot be replaced naturally so prevention really is best. Some treatments help to rebuild the enamel surface, such as fluoride treatments like special toothpaste, Tooth Mousse and varnish. Fillings and crowns may also be an option to protect your teeth from further decay.

We get it. We’re New Zealand’s largest group of dentists so we’ve seen more scared patients than any other dental practice in the country. For most people who are scared about visiting the dentist it’s because they’ve had a bad experience in the past. Relax. Our gentle and compassionate dentists understand how you feel. Whether you’re anxious or worried about experiencing more pain or the potential cost of the treatment, the best thing to do is to let us know how you feel. Making sure you feel comfortable is part of our job.

Yes. You can greatly reduce your chances of tooth erosion by taking good care of your oral health. Reduce highly-acidic food and drink from your diet, such as sodas and citrus juices. Sugary food and drink should also be reduced. Look after your teeth by combining good at-home dental care and building a great relationship with your dentist.

We recommend daily healthy habits and regular visits to the dentist. For optimum oral health:

  • Practice good oral hygiene habits at home including brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day
  • Book hygiene visits with an oral hygienist or oral health therapist twice each year
  • Book routine exam and x-rays visits with your dentist once each year

The Lumino Dental Plan is a cost-effective way to ensure your oral health is given the priority it deserves. It’s an affordable ongoing subscription plan that keeps you on top of your oral health. We know that when you look after your oral health properly with regular preventative care, you’ll be less likely to need to see a dentist in an emergency. You’re also likely to spend less money at the dentist over time.

What next

Learn more about what's next by viewing some possible treatments. We recommend you book an appointment with a dentist for specific advice about your symptoms. You can search for your nearest practice and book online today.