Happy New Year! Once again it’s that familiar time full of resolutions and goals to improve oneself. If your smile doesn’t expand when you catch a glance of your grin in the mirror, maybe an overlooked resolution of yours is improving the health & appearance of your teeth.

As the ball dropped in Times Square just days ago, inevitably close to two million people were clenching their teeth and chattering from the frigid temperatures outside. While the effects of the clenching and chattering from this one night most likely will not cause immediate wear, the continued tooth wear and natural aging can have drastic effects on your teeth and mouth.

The reduction of tooth enamel and the structure of your teeth is commonly referred to as tooth wear. The three most common causes for tooth wear are attrition, erosion, and abrasion. Attrition happens when individuals grind or clench their teeth. The extent of this type of damage depends on how often grinding and clenching occurs. Cases where grinding can have severe effects on the structure of teeth occurs most with individuals who grind or clench in their sleep while they are completely unaware.

Tooth wear caused by erosion is associated with chemical contact from acidic beverages like coffee or soda and by medical conditions such as bulimia or acid reflux. Lastly, abrasion is when an individual improperly brushes their teeth, overly uses toothpicks, and even uses their teeth as tools.

Prolonged wear and tear on your teeth can lead to various complications and unattractive visible changes in your teeth. Abrasion can lead to cracked or jagged teeth with grooves and notches that expose dentin (the softer part of your teeth) while grinding and clenching can also reduce the structure and smooth the surface to levels where more dentin is exposed as well. When dentin, the softer part of your teeth, becomes exposed, deterioration begins to occur more quickly.

If these tooth wear causes are not treated or prevented, many oral health complications, including unattractive and irregular tooth levels, jagged and sharp tooth edges, tooth pain and eventual loss of the teeth all together may occur. There are many customized preventative and corrective treatment options for patients experiencing tooth wear issues.

In order to determine your best options for achieving your ideal smile we recommend scheduling a consultation with Dr. Baier. After a thorough exam in combination with identifying your concerns, he will be able to discuss a comprehensive treatment plan specific to you. This treatment plan will vary based on the cause of wear and when it is detected. Therefore, don’t wait another year! Start now and work closely with your Doctor to proactively find the best way to achieve your ideal and healthy smile.