My teeth are worn down from grinding

My teeth are worn down from grinding. I have some teeth worn down and the enamel is worn thin. What procedure do you suggest? Could I wear a mouth guard after this. I have one missing tooth on the side.
- Carol from Texas

Carol,
A lot of people have a grinding problem, and it does cause your teeth to get worn down. What we would do in a situation like that depends on how badly they’re worn and what effects you’re having from it. It’s good that you’re aware of your grinding problem. Since most grinding occurs at night, many patients who grind their teeth aren’t even aware of it. But it can cause a variety of problems.

If the wearing down just affects the front teeth, then they can be lengthened with porcelain veneers. But that has to be done very carefully because if the teeth are lengthened and you are still grinding, you could grind away the new teeth or break them off. So a careful analysis has to be done of your bite. And then after the teeth are restored, there needs to be some protection provided, such as a mouthguard.

In extreme cases, all the teeth may need to be built up again. Sometimes the grinding is such a problem that all the teeth are worn down, causing what is called bite collapse or facial collapse, and this can lead to headaches or other problems that are characterized as TMJ problems. Building up the teeth is usually done with crowns. And while this is expensive to fix, it provides great relief to some patients who experience pain every day.

About the mouthguard, this may be an important part of your treatment. And if the grinding hasn’t caused too much damage to your teeth, this could be all that you need.

Related links:
See Dr. Goldstein’s blog posting answering a question about how to fix short teeth.
Read about the cost of Lumineers.
Cleveland Lumineers.