The dentist will look for the characteristic signs of attrition on your teeth when examining you and ask questions to find out the information below:
Signs and symptoms that attrition is a factor in your tooth wear include:
- Your teeth meet evenly all the way around
- The teeth all look the same height, there is no difference between the lateral incisors and the central incisors.
- If you slide your teeth across each other then they all stay in contact during the movement.
- The patterns on the teeth are very worn- the cusps are flattened.
- The enamel of the molar teeth looks flat and thin.
- You have frequent chips and small fractures of your teeth and fillings. This is most noticeable on the enamel of your front upper teeth as they are the teeth most easily seen.
- A partner hears you grinding during the night.
- You wake up with tension, a headache or an ache in your jaw or teeth. This is because when your teeth are contacting during the night, the lower jaw presses firmly against the base of your skull and it is this pressure that gives rise to such symptoms.
- The muscles invoved in moving your jaws (that is the masseter, pterygoid muscles and the temporalis) are tender or even slightly enlarged; a process known as hypertrophy.
Note. These are the same as the signs and symptoms for grinding.
If you have porcelain crowns
that bite onto natural tooth, they can be a potential source of tooth wear. Technically this is abrasion because it is not tooth to tooth, but I still put it here because the effect can be far more damaging if you also grind your teeth.
Some porcelains are much harder than others and the level of glaze and polishing is an important factor in the amount of wear that occurs.
Your dentist often needs to adjust the porcelain surface to accommodate the bite, but the polishing that follows is extremely important