4146 Carmichael Road, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36106
Hunter, Schuyler F D.D.S.
2006 Franklin St Se # 209
Huntsville, AL, 35801-4537
Caprara Jr, H John D.D.S.
202 Inverness Center Dr # 202
Birmingham, AL, 35242-7635
Roth, P Todd D.D.S.
4282 Lomac St
Montgomery, AL, 36106-3604
27695 Us Highway 98
Daphne, AL, 36526-4816
Everyone, even your dentist, knows that when we age, we see certain changes in our face (for example, wrinkled skin, less skin tone, shrunken appearance). The soft tissue in the lower one-third of the face is supported by the teeth and jawbone, and gives support to your smile. As we age, we lose support to our smile and we begin to appear older.
Anatomically, the face is divided into thirds: the upper, middle and lower one-third. The space between your nose and your chin is referred to as the lower one-third. The teeth support the vertical height of your lower face, and more specifically the back teeth support your lower face.
Most dentists agree that minimal and gradual wearing away of the top enamel of the teeth is considered normal during the lifespan of a patient. However, excessive wear on the top surfaces of the teeth can result in abscessed teeth, an irregular bite, decreased chewing capacity and esthetic disharmony. Patients with these types of problems often require extensive restorative cosmetic dentistry treatment.
Although the prevalence of tooth wear, or attrition, is not known, it is thought to be very common in adults over the age of 40. The wearing of the top surfaces of the teeth is most often attributed to attrition, which is the wearing away of one tooth surface by another tooth surface. Attrition is the result of bruxism, or the involuntary grinding of the teeth against each other.
Attrition can be the result of one or a combination of problems such as:
Depending on the severity of the tooth wear, teeth may be broken, shortened and unattractive. Having worn teeth can result in jaw joint pain (TMJ), a decreased ability to chew and a sunken appearance to the lower face. All of these results can make a person appear more wrinkled and older.
Generally, the worn teeth will have to have new fillings placed or redone. When severe wear occurs in the mouth, a dental crown or multiple crowns may be the only solution.
Yes, tooth wear can be prevented, but only if you make regular visits to the dentist. If detected early enough, your dentist may prescribe a plastic night guard to protect your teeth, much like an athletic mouth guard.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS
When you decide to have crowns done, especially if they involve your front teeth, you will want to be able to give your input regarding how the final crowns will look. One way to do this is with temporary dental crowns. When your teeth are prepared for crowns, the dentist will place temporary dental crowns for you to wear while the final crowns are being made.
There are some differences between temporary dental crowns and final crowns that you should be aware of. Temporary dental crowns are made of a different material, usually some sort of a plastic or acrylic. Since these materials are not as strong as your own teeth, you will have to be careful of what you eat. You should avoid hard foods such as nuts, and tough foods such as bagels or French bread.
Another difference is that temporary dental crowns are cemented on with a dental cement. The reason for this is that the cosmetic dentist will need to be able to remove the temporary dental crowns when it is time to cement the permanent ones. Since the cement is not as strong, sticky foods may cause them to come loose.
If your temporary dental crowns come off or are loose, you should call your dentist so that they can be re-cemented. It is important not to wait, as the tooth may be sensitive, it may move, or, if a long enough period of time passes, the tooth may get decay. As far as home care, your temporary dental crowns should be cleaned with a toothbrush, just like your own teeth. When flossing, though, it is important to floss towards the gums and then slide the floss out by one end rather than lifting it back up through the teeth. This will help ensure that your temporary dental crowns do not come off while flossing.
By Greggory Kinzer, DDS, MSD