What Are Dental Abrasions?
Dental abrasion is the condition where teeth lose enamel, becoming physically worn down, due to excessive friction between your teeth and any foreign object.
While most people are simply protecting their smile, oftentimes, this excessive friction is caused by aggressive brushing – showing just how easy it is to damage teeth accidentally.
Teeth are strong – the most durable body part actually – but they are exposed to many damaging things, which can add up over time. Without proper care or with the wrong brushing technique, patients can open themselves up to a host of oral issues.
At Dentist of Cerritos, we believe it’s important to understand why dental abrasion occurs and when it’s time to take action to maintain your pearly whites.
What are the Causes of Dental Abrasion?
The main cause of dental abrasions is brushing too hard. Applying too much pressure while brushing is the biggest cause of tooth abrasion, but it is not the only one.
Inappropriate Brushing Tools
Applying too much pressure to your teeth isn’t the only way to damage them while brushing. Using hard-bristled toothbrushes and abrasive toothpastes can harm teeth and gum tissues, bringing about dental abrasions.
Chewing on Hard Objects
Remember that any object frequently rubbed against the teeth may scrape their enamel. This includes many regular items that you may not realize you are rubbing against or biting, including:
- Writing Utensils (and the caps)
- Mouth jewelry
- Nuts and seeds
Oral Hygiene Appliances
Partial dentures, retainers, and similar oral health gear can trigger dental abrasion, particularly if they do not fit well and move around often.
If you are experiencing ill-fitting gear, please contact our dental experts at Dentist of Cerritos to get this issue corrected as soon as possible.
What Are the Signs of Dental Abrasions?
Outside of a diagnosis by a dentist, most patients don’t realize a dental abrasion has occurred in the first place.
Tooth abrasion does not happen overnight; it is a long process, with subtle signs easily going unnoticed. If you experience or see any of the following signs, ask your dentist about dental abrasion during your next appointment.
Changes in Your Smile’s Appearance
As a tooth’s enamel wears down, the inner layer becomes more visible, making those areas look darker and causing notches on your tooth’s surface, close to your gum line.
Dentin is the layer underneath your enamel’s surface, containing channels leading to the center of the tooth, where sensitive pulp is located. As enamel dissolves, the dentin layer underneath becomes exposed, causing sensitivity to sweet, sour, cold, or hot foods and can make brushing teeth painful.
Enamel is a protective layer for your teeth, without it your smile is more susceptible to plaque and bacteria. The notches created by dental abrasions make it harder to maintain optimal oral health.
Bacteria can more easily cling to the notches in a tooth’s surface, making it more difficult to get rid of it with a thorough brushing session. When stubborn bacteria is not thoroughly removed, you may notice an uptick in cavities, which can lead to tooth loss if ignored.
Replacing Your Frayed Toothbrushes Often
If you are switching your toothbrush out every few weeks because the bristles are pointing in every direction but their original one, it is a huge sign that you are brushing far too hard and may have dental abrasions.
How Are Dental Abrasions Treated?
At its beginning stages, dental abrasion can easily be treated with something as simple as changing the type of toothbrush and toothpaste used or getting a night guard.
In other instances, treatments like veneers are used to treat partially exposed teeth, covering and protecting any exposed dentin.
Generally, however, dental abrasion treatment can be quite tricky and is highly customized. The cause of your individual tooth abrasion needs to be identified, followed by taking any necessary action steps to prevent further damage.
A dentist will then turn their focus to restoring the appearance of your teeth and strengthening them. The best solution for your dental abrasion will depend on your particular circumstances and may include treatments like crowns, fillings, or veneers.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Dental Abrasion Treatment?
There may not be a cut and dry answer as dental insurance is complex, with insurance companies each having their own set of coverage rules.
What you can expect from Dentist of Cerritos is dedication to getting you the tooth abrasion services you need. We work with our patients and their insurance companies to ensure the best coverage when possible, and provide financing options for those without insurance.
Can Dental Abrasions Be Prevented?
Once tooth enamel is gone, it will not come back, making prevention of the utmost importance. Proper care of your teeth is the easiest way to keep dental abrasion at bay.
Master the Teeth Brushing Basics
- Be mindful about your toothpaste and toothbrush, avoiding coarse formulas and hard bristles.
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, brushing with short, gentle circular motions, instead of using up and down or side to side strokes.
- Floss gently
- Clean your tongue and gums to remove bacteria during brushing
- Don’t brush for longer than two minutes
Transition Away from Bad Dental Habits
- Only use toothpicks to remove food from your teeth
- Stop/reduce nail biting or chewing on foreign objects
Keep Your Regular Dentist Appointments
Visiting the dentist every six months will give you the opportunity to talk to them about any new experiences you are having with your oral health. It takes time to notice ill-fitting mouth guards or an uptick in grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.
When you make your dentist visit a priority, you give yourself a greater chance to discover your dental abrasion risk and can take measures to avoid it.
Do You Think You Have Dental Abrasion?
If you’ve been experiencing signs of dental abrasions but have lingering doubts, Dentist of Cerritos can help. Our experts can identify tooth abrasion and get you on the road to restoring your smile’s appearance and health in the Cerritos, CA area.
Contact us at (562) 414-5064 today to schedule an appointment to treat your dental abrasion and help you keep the smile you love!