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  • Writer's pictureLucy See

3 easy ways to stop teeth getting shorter

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

Keeping your natural teeth for life is the best option. Something we often see in patients today, is an increase in tooth wear, where we see their teeth getting shorter and flatter. This is tooth destruction not attributed to a bacterial source. Grinding and clenching teeth often happens at night, when we're not aware of it. This is a common cause of tooth wear. People grid their teeth because of strong jaw muscles, tension, stress and anxiety. If left untreated, tooth wear can file teeth away to stubs that go into the dentine. This is painful and can sometimes lead to tooth extraction.

Once tooth structure is lost, it cannot grow back.

Here are some top tips on how to maintain great oral health and keep your teeth for life:

  1. Fluoride: one of the best preventative measures for loss of tooth substance is fluoride. This is in the form of fluoridated water, toothpaste, beverages and rinses. The main reason why fluoride is so effective is that when it is applied to teeth, it gets incorporated into the tooth structure to strengthen and protect it from bacteria.

  2. Diet: two impactful changes that will have a positive impact on keeping your tooth structure is reducing the frequency of eating throughout the day and reducing the acid and sugar intake. Tooth erosion occurs where there is a high presence of acid. Once a tooth starts to erode, it becomes structurally compromised and will usually start to chip and break. Reducing the intake of things such as fruit juice, soft drinks and energy drinks will greatly reduce the amount of acid and therefore, potential tooth erosion.

  3. Wear an occlusal splint: excessive forces from clenching and grinding (most often at night), can cause teeth to wear down and break. This is called attrition. This, combined with erosion, can dramatically speed up tooth wear. Other symptoms of grinding and clenching is jaw pain, tightness and restricted movement. A custom made occlusal splint (night guard) is an excellent solution to protecting teeth and stopping tooth wear in it's tracks. It usually also helps reduce headaches and jaw pain related to clenching and grinding.

If short, worn down teeth are left untreated, it can lead to future tooth loss. We have helped many patients restore their dental health, function and overall smile aesthetics with veneers to build up their teeth. Veneers help protect them from future wear and improve their appearance.

Learn more about our smile design process here and watch a short video about one of our patients, Claire, who had veneers with Dr See and shares her story.

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