Stop Teeth from Wearing Down


Patients often notice that their teeth start to wear down as they age. The teeth can begin to appear shorter, become discolored, and change in their overall shape. Patients often want to know why their teeth wear down and what they can do to fix it.


Below are the four different causes of tooth erosion:

  • Friction: erosion which occurs with biting down or grinding the teeth; grinding may occur during the day but most commonly occurs while patients are sleeping.
  • Wear and tear: while some wear and tear naturally occurs, other times it can occur from misuse of the teeth. This can include using the teeth to open things or using excessive force when brushing or cleaning the teeth.
  • Stress: When stress is placed on the teeth, can cause them to flex. When this occurs, it can weaken areas that are more susceptible to erosion.
  • Chemical attack: A chemical attack on the teeth can be external such as consuming acid foods or drinks or from inside the body such as acid reflux.


Bruxism is a medical term used to describe chronic grinding of the teeth. Bruxism can occur from things such as stress or from a malocclusion. When the teeth do not properly fit together, in can result in overcompensation of the muscles in the head, jaw and neck. When the muscles work to put the jaw back into the correct position, it can wear down on certain points of the teeth. During an examination, the dentist will evaluate how the teeth meet or occlusion. The teeth can gently be adjusted or equilibrated to ensure muscles are not overworked. This also helps to prevent uneven wear on the teeth.


Patients often grind their teeth while they are asleep, making it difficult to manage. When patients grind their teeth during the day, the behavior can often be modified. Patients can also work to control their stress and physical reaction to stress. In order to prevent grinding the teeth at night, the dentist may prescribe a splint. A bruxism splint is typically made from clear thermoplastic and fits over the lower or upper teeth.


The splint is smooth and allows for the top teeth to easily slide over it, preventing the teeth from making contact. The split also ensures the muscles are able to relax. After wearing a splint, patients may notice their teeth do not meet properly. This occurs because the muscles were able to relax and the jaw returns to its natural resting position. Wearing a splint can help to prevent morning headaches from grinding all night.


Patients who use their teeth incorrectly, often notice damage. This can include using the teeth to open things, biting on pens, and other habits. The teeth are created to bite, chew, and eat. They are not intended to open things or break plastic seals.


In some cases, tooth erosion may be the result of poor oral hygiene. Patients who use excessive force when brushing often notice that their teeth are worn down. This increased wear often occurs on the cheek side of the tooth closest to the gum as the enamel on this tooth is thinner. Once the enamel wears off, the softer dentin layer is exposed. Once dentin is exposed, erosion can occur quickly and lead to increased sensitivity or discoloration.



In the early stages of erosion, dental bonding can be used to repair the teeth. Bonding can be used to restore the shape of the tooth and treat discoloration where the dentin is exposed. In most severe cases of erosion, the dentist may suggest the use of a dental crown or veneer to cover the surface of the tooth and conceal cosmetic flaws.


Treating Worn Down Teeth