There are several
conditions that affect teeth and can be a significant issue for
the individual affected. While these conditions are not always
an issue in terms of physical dental health, their presence can
significantly modify the way people eat and live their lives.
Tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, is another common
dental malady, which is thought to affect between 20-45% of adults
in the U.S. alone. It commonly appears in the 3rd decade of life,
and then again when the patients are in the 6th decade of life.
The premolars and the canines are more frequently affected.
Tooth sensitivity is thought to be caused by the exposure of
the dentin microtubules into the environment, when normally,
these should be protected. Improper and/or overzealous brushing,
tooth abrasion, fractures, and periodontal diseases and procedures
contribute are cited causes. Excessive intake of acidic juices
and citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, wines and ciders also are
thought to be risk factors for sensitive teeth.
Treatment is focused on determining the primary cause of the
hypersensitivity so that it may be addressed properly. Correcting
or modifying brushing habits may be necessary and may take some
time to achieve. Use of detrifices and toothpastes with desensitizing
agents are among the non-invasive treatment options. Toothpastes
with stannous fluoride, potassium nitrate and strontium chloride
are also widely used. Surgery may be done for severe persistent
Bruxism/ teeth grinding
Bruxism is a medical term referring to grinding, gnashing or
clenching of teeth. This condition affects both children and
adults and affects close to 40 million Americans. Bruxism is
not a learned habit and may occur in the daytime or during sleep.
Teeth clenching and grinding may be mild as to not warrant medical
consult, however some people have severe bruxism that manifest
as jaw problem, headaches, and/or damaged teeth.
The causes of bruxism are disputed but it is generally believed
to be mainly psychosomatic. Substances such as amphetamine, nicotine,
and alcohol are indicated causes as occurrence of bruxism was
found to be higher in the population taking these substances.
Also, stress, anger and frustration are thought to cause bruxism
as it was observed that adult bruxers often unconsciously clench
and grind their teeth in the daytime when they experience stress
and other anxieties.
Treatment of the bruxism includes removal of inciting factors.
Other goals of treatment are to reduce pain and prevent permanent
damage to the teeth. Since stress may be unavoidable, relaxing
techniques are helpful and are advised.
Tooth Abrasion and Erosion
These are two categories of non-carious tooth wear, the third
of which is attrition, which is basically age-related wear. Abrasion
can be brought about by brushing, bruxism, and other mechanically
and functionally related wear. Erosion is caused by chemicals
and acids that are non-bacterial in origins, that demineralize
the enamel. Eroded teeth are frequently observed in patients
with GERD, eating disorders, and in people whose diets include
plenty of citrus fruits and juices, and carbonated drinks.
is already been growing concern regarding this steadily rising
problem among the young although adequate behavioral changes
and diet modifications have not been achieved. For those whose
teeth are already eroded or abraded, toothpastes with de-sensitizing
agents, such as 5% potassium nitrate, can help reduce symptoms