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