What a bad bite can do to you…
Did you know that tooth enamel is less than 2 millimeters thick and is the hardest substance in the human body? Its purpose is to protect the tooth and be strong enough to overcome acid attacks from an upset stomach, plus outside sources like sport drinks and sodas. I’m sure many of you have used Coca-Cola to marinade and tenderize meat. Just think what soda could do to your mouth and teeth without the protective layer of enamel. This is quite a feat for something that is called upon to protect for more than 70 years.
Make no mistake, over time enamel will wear and it can be destroyed. Extreme wear occurs when the teeth fit together incorrectly. This concept can be compared to gears in a car. If the gears don’t mesh correctly, destruction will occur. If gears are overused and are under more stress than they were designed for, damage is eminent.
So, in comparison, if teeth don’t fit together correctly because of a bad bite or there is overuse such as grinding of the teeth and clinching of the jaw, something has to give . Once a tooth wears down to the dentin, destruction occurs at a much faster rate. The dentin gives life to a tooth and is six times softer than enamel. A good analogy to this rapid breakdown is M&M candies, they are hard on the outside but once the hard shell is broken into, they quickly crumble and melt away.
Jack, like many people, hates going to the dentist. He also has philosophy “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Alas, a broken tooth forced Jack to come see us. Since he hates going to the dentist, he was also interested in being put to sleep during his procedure-also known as sedation dentistry.
Jack’s complete examination revealed a much bigger concern than one broken tooth: Jack was rapidly wearing down all of his teeth because of his bite and because he clinched and grounded his teeth constantly.
Jack has worn off at least 40 percent of the enamel on almost all of his teeth. If he had been 80 instead of his mid-30s, this amount of tooth wear would not be so serious. If he has destroyed that much tooth structure in 20 years, just imagine what can happen in the next 20.
- Jack’s proper bite must be established with appliances that look much like an orthodontic retainer.
- Every tooth must be crowned in order to restore the natural shape and length and to fit the new bite.
- Since every tooth is being crowned, there is no reason not to make them look young, white and pretty.
- The teeth will need to be protected by some type of bite application from now on.
Early treatment and regular dental visits would have provided Jack with more choices. Don’t wait until you have tooth pain and a potentially serious problem before you see a dentist.
Make oral health a priority and give yourself the flexibility to make the best choices for your lifestyle and budget. Today’s dental treatments are nothing to be afraid of.