|Dr. Alan Wishneff D.D.S.
Restorative Dentistry / Oral Health
August 27, 2014
Teeth are extremely strong structures in the mouth. When they are properly cared for, they can last a lifetime. Even with proper dental care, the teeth can become worn down due to the daily grind of chewing, brushing, grinding and accidental injuries. The following are some of the biggest threats the teeth face and some ways to avoid them.
Fractured, Chipped or Broken Teeth
Teeth can become fractured or chipped when you bite down on something hard like a popcorn kernel or ice. This is not as common as you might think because the teeth are so strong that they can withstand a lot. Fillings in teeth or teeth that have had a root canal done on them are at a higher risk of breakage. These teeth are not as strong because they are not fully intact. It is also very likely that you will break a tooth while playing a sport. In contact and non-contact sports, there is a risk of being hit in the mouth area and damaging the teeth.
How to avoid: When the back molars have fillings, it is a good idea to avoid biting down on hard foods like bones, ice or hard candies. While playing sports wearing a mouth guard can help protect your teeth. You can buy these at a local sports store or even ask your dentist and they can get one molded to the mouth. If you do get a chipped tooth, they can be repaired. A fractured tooth is harder to fix depending on how far the cracks extends. These may need to be removed.
Teeth are made for chewing and grinding food. Many people unconsciously grind or clench their teeth together. If this is done for long periods of time it can damage the chewing surface on the teeth. Micro-cracks in the enamel can form and it can make the teeth more susceptible to decay. Chronic tooth grinding is called bruxism. Tooth grinding may also cause headaches, muscle pains and jaw injuries. Most of the time, people who grind their teeth may not even know they are doing it. Your dentist can look for signs of grinding on the surface of the teeth. One of the main reasons why someone grinds the teeth is stress or anger relief.
How to avoid: A key factor in trying not to grind the teeth is to try to manage stressful situations. Try some stress management techniques. Try taking a walk or learn to meditate. If this does not stop the grinding, talk to your dentist. They can prescribe a mouth guard or splint to help protect the teeth.
Acid and Tooth Enamel Erosion
Even though teeth are extremely hard, they are still vulnerable when acid levels in the mouth are too high. Acid erodes the enamel on teeth, which makes them susceptible to decay. The things that provide the most acid are acidic foods and drinks and acid-producing bacteria in the mouth. Other medical conditions can also lead to enamel erosion. These include bulimia, chronic gastritis related to alcoholism and recurrent vomiting related to pregnancy. Another threat to the enamel is called chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This causes highly acidic contents of the stomach to escape up into the esophagus and even the mouth. This will further erode the teeth.
How to avoid: The best way to avoid further damage is to try to control GERD. It is best to go see a gastroenterologist for the correct treatments. You can take over the counter antacids or try raising the head of the bed. To lower heartburn, try walking around after a big meal. Chewing sugarless gum will help increase saliva and help wash out the mouth.
For more information about this topic or any other dental topic, contact Dr.Wishneff at [email protected] or call (561) 488-3111. Dr. Alan Wishneff is a Boca Raton Dentist dedicated to bringing patients state-of-the-art dental care. As a cosmetic, family and restorative dentist, he helps patients enjoy a natural and healthy smile. He is trained in cosmetic dentistry, including porcelain veneers; advanced cosmetic bonding techniques; oral surgery; medical emergency procedures; advanced crown and bridge; advanced TMJ; implant dentistry; endodontics-root canals: utilization of most advanced dental materials. Dr, Wishneff and staff are dedicated to providing great smiles in Boca Raton for more than 30 years. After more than two decades of practicing dentistry in Boca Raton, Dr. Wishneff is more committed than ever to this community.