What Options do I have if I Have Ground All my Teeth Down?

If grinding or bruxism has worn down all your teeth, there is most likely a reason for this.  Cosmetic dentistry offers many options to help patients with these serious problems that have caused them to ruin their teeth and possibly even lose teeth and develop TMJ pain.  Some patients have pain and others do not.  One of the first considerations is to find out why this has happened as opposed to jumping into fixing teeth.

In many cases, simply grinding down the teeth for crowns for cosmetic or functional purposes is further destroying the teeth. In cases of severe wear,  patients have often been from dental office to dental office constantly repairing or trying to fix teeth with crowns and fillings.  In fact, this also leads to further gum disease.These often break and fail in the same manner that their natural teeth have.

The photos below illustrate a few of these scenarios.

” A bad bite for whatever reason can ruin teeth. Bite correction prior to cosmetic dental care can help ensure beautiful long lasting results.”

A point to consider, is there is a reason that some individuals ruin their teeth and why would anyone restore or fix these teeth to the same occlusion (bite) that caused these problems? A bad bite can be called occlusal disease.  Some causes of bad bites and worn teeth can be:

  1. Grinding of teeth in a bad bite

      2)  TMJ problems

      3)  Airway /sleep apnea problems

      4)  Eating disorders

       5) Trauma or accidents    

Grinding or bruxism

Grinding is destructive as it wears teeth down and can lead to the loss of enamel as well as a change in the vertical dimension of the face  (see photos below).  Patients often grind to help themselves try to find a better and more comfortable bite (the way the teeth meet together). This is similar to having a pebble in your shoe.  Most would not walk on the pebble, but rather wiggle the shoe to move the pebble.  In addition to a bad bite, grinding can be caused by certain medications, orthodontics moving the teeth to a poor bite, airway issues, and even stress.

“Building his teeth up to the correct bite as opposed to grinding them down to the pathologic bite.”

TMJ Issues

These patients may have or had jaw pain, headaches, or popping joints. Simply put pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is not right.  Many times a bad bite causing TMJ problems ruins the teeth as they do not meet together correctly.  TMJ issues should be treated first and the correct physiologic jaw position determined prior to restoring the teeth.  There are ways to determine, correct, and verify comfort and stability prior to treating the teeth.

Airway/Sleep Apnea

Some individuals have airway obstruction possibly from tonsils, deviated septums, and other issues such as overweight which can lead to sleep apnea.  As humans we must get oxygen so sometimes these patients will grind their teeth during the night in an attempt to open the airway to survive.  Sleep apnea can be treated and can help control grinding teeth if it is from this reason.  However, if they are already ground down, getting the sleep apnea controlled is essential to keep these patients from further ruining their teeth.

Eating Disorders

Bulimia is a disease in which the acid from the vomitus or reflux destroys the teeth and the enamel is worn away.  Hopefully, professional care can help patients with this disorder learn to control or cure this.  On the dental side, the acid causes serious damage and the teeth can appear to be severely worn.  Once things are controlled, it is often necessary to build the teeth back up to the correct bite.

Trauma or Accidents

Whether severe or mild, damage to the teeth, joints, or bite can change the way the teeth meet together and lead to grinding or bruxism. 

In each scenario listed above, severe damage to the teeth can and quite often does occur.  Rather than simply patch teeth and wait for more grinding and damage, correcting the way the teeth meet together, with neuromuscular dentistry, can be utilized to correct and restore patients to health and comfort as well as prevent further damage to their teeth. Sometimes intervention can take place before serious damage from grinding occurs.

There is more than one way to correct these problems from severe grinding and each case should be carefully evaluated and the causative factors addressed prior to dental restorative procedures.

In overview, options involve restoring teeth to the bite that caused the problems and patching teeth, or considering a more comprehensive approach to restore the teeth to a better physiologic bite (i.e align your new tires before you take them on the road).

If you have any questions regarding Houston Cosmetic Dentistry or Houston TMJ please feel free to contact our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF, FIAPA, 713-668-2289

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