Q: I have a tooth problem. My wife says this to me all too often. My retort is, “I have all my teeth,” to which she says, “Really? I can’t see them they’re so worn down.” In reality, she’s mostly right. I had my upper front teeth capped a number of years ago and since then it seems like my lowers are getting smaller and shorter. So, they’ve gotten shorter with some spaces between.
My wife says she hears me grind my teeth and so I guess I do. I don’t get headaches or have sore jaws or muscles. I do chew my food very thoroughly because I believe that helps in digestion. I have good health and I eat lots of vegetables and foods that are grain-based. That’s how I was raised, and I believe it contributes to all phases of health. So now the question; what to do?
Well, I had a very thorough going over by a dentist and when he told me what I needed done, I really didn’t want to go that route. Maybe it was the expense, but he said I needed a complete overhaul. Maybe I’ll have to do it but I’m having a hard time getting used to the idea. On top of that, I’ve got no pain so it’s hard to get my head around crowning when there isn’t a reason other than worn teeth. And why are they wearing so fast?
A: Good questions, good considerations, and lots to digest – pun intended. Those who grind their teeth unconsciously wear their teeth. When a dentist looks into a “grinder’s” mouth, he instantly sees it, or should. What he doesn’t know is when this is occurring. But basically, grinding is divided into nighttime grinding – done unconsciously, daytime grinding – done unconsciously, and functional grinding – also done unconsciously.
Your teeth need restoring to length so function is restored. That’s when front teeth can return to guiding all the forces that are destroying your tooth structure, front and back.
It is especially important in your case because functional grinding can be more damaging than episodic day and night grinding.
How do I know you’re grinding all your teeth so badly when you eat? Because your front teeth are responsible for separating your back teeth in the side to side chewing stroke (think bovine chewing). When your front teeth are worn to stumps, the back teeth and front teeth all grind tooth to tooth (think bone-on-bone grinding as in an arthritic joint) when you eat.
This is functional grinding and is very, very damaging. The reason your lower front teeth are wearing faster now is because your porcelain crowns on the upper front teeth are seven times more abrasive than enamel to enamel. It’s like sandpaper grinding while you eat.
Run, don’t walk, to the solution that reestablishes your correct bite.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation or visit us today.
Based on actual patient cases
© Calvin Ross Crapo
Victoria Implant Centre