Tooth abrasion can be defined as the permanent loss of tooth structure that can occur on various tooth surfaces including the cutting surface outer enamel layer and even exposed root surfaces.
Tooth abrasion is not caused by one method alone but by numerous different activities. The main cause however can be due to brushing your teeth incorrectly. Brushing your teeth to hard to fast or even using the wrong toothpaste can lead to serious tooth abrasion. Other causes of tooth abrasion include grinding your teeth using your teeth as a cutting tool and chewing on hard objects.
Tooth abrasion can affect all types of people although the risk of tooth abrasion is higher amongst people who suffer with gum disease. Gum disease causes the teeth to pull away from the gum exposing the root of the tooth. This leaves the root area beneath the teeth exposed to water and other agents that the tooth enamel normally protects it against.
Tooth abrasion can occur gradually over a period of time or very quickly. Gradual tooth abrasion allows the body to reduce the severity of tooth abrasion as the body has sufficient time to repair itself. The body does this by allowing a new layer of dentin (the layer immediately under the outer tooth enamel layer) to be deposited over the damaged areas of the tooth. This new layer of dentin prevents the nerves blood vessels and connective tissue inside the tooth known as the pulp from being damaged further and therefore enables the tooth to heal.
Quick tooth abrasion on the other hand can cause irreversible damage to the pulp and lead to the consequences of tooth abrasion which not only include crocked teeth but also increased tooth sensitivity infection and ultimately loss of the tooth.
In order to prevent tooth abrasion it is important to take the following steps. Firstly seek your dentist's opinion on how to brush your teeth properly. This will reduce the risk of tooth abrasion from brushing teeth too fast or hard. Choosing the right toothpaste is also important in the fight against tooth abrasion as some toothpastes are highly abrasive on tooth enamel. Again your dentist will be able to give you advice on the different types of toothpastes available. Chewing on nails and hard objects such as pencils is also advised against as is using your teeth as a cutting tool.
If prevention of tooth abrasion fails then the only option left is corrective surgery. Each case of tooth abrasion is different and therefore the range of corrective options varies from person to person although the most common treatments include bonding Cap or a filling to restore the appearance of the tooth.