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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.

Sensitive teeth

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 pain.

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.

There 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 of hypersensitivity.

 
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