Brushing regularly and diligently is a good thing. However, when you brush too hard, the bristles on your toothbrush can cause wear on the teeth and the gums. This can cause a dental problem called teeth abrasion or teeth erosion. Read on to learn more about this dental phenomenon and how you can stop it.
What is teeth abrasion?
Teeth abrasion is basically induced wear caused by vigorous movements during brushing. The gum line is pushed upwards such that certain areas of the root begin to show. This creates a depression or a part of the teeth that seems 'scooped out' just above the gum line. Teeth abrasion can affect just one tooth or several teeth depending on your brushing habits.
What are the effects of teeth abrasion?
Once you have teeth abrasion, it can continue to affect the condition of your teeth until you get treatment or alter your brushing habits. Abrasion exposes the root of the teeth which is normally covered by the gum. This can cause sensitivity when brushing or taking hot/cold foods. Over time, the affected areas can allow tiny food particles to accumulate around the exposed root and inside the gum pockets. This can spur teeth decay, gingivitis and even periodontal disease. If not abated, the gum recession can continue to the point where most of the root is exposed and probably decayed. At this point, the tooth would have to be extracted.
How is teeth abrasion treated?
There is treatment for teeth abrasion. With regular dental visits, teeth abrasion can be diagnosed early. During treatment, the dentist will first clean the affected area. A composite resin or porcelain material will then be applied onto the etched area as a backfill material. The material is then smoothed and aligned such that it is in line with the crown. This material has the same color as your teeth so it's hard for one to tell any dental work has been done. The material is then cured by a special light. This allows the fill to harden so that it doesn't come off when you chew. Once done, the tooth is polished for a final finish and you're good to go.
Post treatment, your dentist will advise you to adopt a more gentle brushing technique where you're not pressing the tooth brush down too hard. If you have a hard bristle tooth brush, your dentist will recommend one with soft bristles. Your dentist may also ask to see you after a few months to evaluate the condition of the other teeth as well.