Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in our body, but even the strongest teeth become worn down over time. Dietary changes, improved oral hygiene, and better dental treatment make it possible for patients to retain their natural smiles for a lifetime. One of the first reasons dentists noted this change was the increased necessity for wisdom tooth extraction. The third set of molars are commonly referred to as wisdom teeth because they erupt between 17 and 25 years of age. Anthropologists believed that the early function of wisdom teeth was to replace teeth that were lost because our ancient ancestors ate coarse foods that quickly wore down tooth enamel. Most modern lifestyles are much less tough on teeth. This has made wisdom teeth almost entirely unnecessary. Unfortunately, teeth still wear down throughout our lives (just not before our 20th birthdays!). The caring team at McCarl Dental Group can help you protect your smile. Call our Greenbelt dental office or our Millersville, Maryland dentists. Call for an appointment today.
Why do Millersville Residents Request Nightguards?
There are many reasons why teeth become worn down over time. The three main types of dental wear are:
Abrasion – wear from dental interaction with foreign objects. Such as:
- nail biting
- pencil chewing
- aggressive tooth brushing
- people using their teeth as tools to open bottles and yogurt tops
Teeth Grinding – occurs when teeth are ground or clenched together. While grinding happens naturally through chewing or resting teeth together, some people suffer from a teeth grinding/clenching disorder called bruxism. For many patients, this only happens during sleep making it difficult to break the habit.
Erosion – this type of wear is most commonly associated with diet. It is the gradual reduction of dental structure as acidic substances and bacteria interact with teeth.
It may take longer for teeth to wear if you don’t have a nail biting habit, grind your teeth, or have a sweet tooth, but regular chewing, brushing, stress-related jaw clenching, and sugars in the diet impact oral health. Luckily, McCarl Dental Group helps Millersville, Maryland residents prevent and treat dental wear and tear.
Can I Prevent Worn Down Teeth with Nightguards?
For patients who suffer from bruxism while sleeping, our dentists craft custom dental appliances that separate the teeth during sleep protecting against the effects of teeth grinding and clenching. These dental appliances are known as nightguards. For patients who clench or grind teeth while they are awake, the habit may be easier to break using cognitive behavior therapies and stress relief tools. For some patients, a clenched jaw may feel like a natural resting position.
TMJ disorder – Tooth grinding and clenching puts excessive strain on the jaw and overtime, increases the risk for disorders affecting the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). As increased strain or pressure is placed on these joints that absorb impact from the movement of the jaw, they strain, shift, or wear causing painful jaw movement. Our dental team may recommend wearing a dental appliance in order to reset the resting position of the jaw. There are a number of TMJ therapies that may help alleviate jaw pain, and improve function of the temporomandibular joint.
Can I Repair Worn Down Teeth?
If damage results from the wearing down of teeth, our Greenbelt and Millersville, Maryland teams offer custom, individualized care to repair patients’ smiles. Some of the ways we repair damage from worn teeth include:
Crowns – for more significant damage from tooth grinding and clenching, patients may need a dental crown. As patients grind teeth, the enamel wears away, exposing the less dense layer of dentin below. Crowns fit over the entire tooth. Like veneers, they add a layer of protection for the remaining tooth enamel.
Porcelain Veneers – great for concealing minor cracks and chips caused by teeth grinding and clenching. Made of thin sheaths of tooth-colored porcelain that fit onto the fronts of teeth. Porcelain veneers have the added benefit of protecting remaining dental structure.
Call to Learn More About Restorative Dental Care in Greenbelt, MD
Don’t let worn down teeth impact your smile. Call McCarl Dental Group to find out more about the nightguards Greenbelt residents trust, and our variety of restorative dental options to repair smiles affected by natural dental wear and tear.