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Smile Wear and Tear: What Is Dental Attrition?

Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. Jul 26, 2016

A woman undergoing a dental examWhen patients come to our practice, they know they are meeting with some of the leading dental care experts in Jackson. We offer comprehensive restorative dentistry as well as the latest in cosmetic and general dental care.

Many people think of tooth decay and gum disease when it comes to dental health issue that affect them on a day-to-day basis. Dental attrition is another health concern to keep in mind. Many people are unfamiliar with it, but it can be a serious problem.

What Is Dental Attrition?

Dental attrition is a form of tooth wear that occurs when teeth come into constant contact with one another. The issues generally stems from contact between teeth on opposite dental arches (i.e., the upper teeth and the lower teeth).

If left untreated, dental attrition can lead to loss of tooth structure, tooth pain, and a host of other dental health issues.

Causes of Dental Attrition

The most common cause of dental attrition is the long-term wear and tear on the teeth. The wear on the teeth will often appear on the cusps and ridges, with changes in shape occurring as the opposite teeth try to accommodate each other. Grinding of the teeth and poor dental alignment can both exacerbate the problem.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) and Dental Attrition

As just noted, teeth grinding can cause serious issues with attrition. Bruxism occurs when a patient is asleep and involves the gnashing, clenching, shifting, and clenching of the teeth and the jaw joint. This can wear away tooth structure, cause serious structural damage to a tooth, and also cause a number of problem to the jaw joint.

Signs and Symptoms of Dental Attrition

The most common signs and symptoms of dental attrition include the following:

  • Loss of tooth structure
  • Changes in tooth shape
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Dental pain
  • Discoloration of the teeth
  • Changes in dental alignment
  • Loose fillings and dental restorations

Treatments for the Damage Associated with Dental Attrition

When it comes to restoring lost or compromised tooth structure, the most common option to consider is the use of dental restorations. This is generally an initial stage of treatment for the condition in that the teeth can be fixed. A substantive solution to the primary issue of wear and tear will be determined during the consultation process.

Preventing Further Issues with Dental Attrition

When it comes to preventing the long-term damage dental attrition and truly addressing the problem, the ideal treatment options can vary. In many cases this will typically involve a combination of orthodontic treatment and carefully tailored treatment to address teeth grinding.

As with the above issues related to treating dental wear and tear, we can discuss your ideal treatment options in greater detail during a consultation at the practice.

Learn More About Dental Attrition

For more information about treating attrition and improving overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Our team is eager to meet with you and help you have the most beautiful smile possible.

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