Grinding and your canine teeth

Your canine teeth are very important because they protect against tooth grinding. They should be ‘pointy’. If these ‘points’ are worn flat you’ll have problems that affect your dental function and dental aesthetics.

toothGrinding1

In our City of London EC4 dental practice we’ve seen many times how constant biting and chewing makes teeth wear down with age. The added problem is that sometimes – through stress or a bad ‘bite’ – the upper and lower sets of teeth can grind against each other excessively.

This is bad news and ‘self destructive’. The hard tooth enamel will wear down prematurely if it comes in continuous contact with other tooth enamel.

How your canine teeth protect

toothGrinding2Your four canines ‘emerge’ into your mouth with ‘points’. When your lower teeth grind sideways against the upper teeth, the ‘bite’ rides up on these points of the upper and lower canine teeth. They act to separate all the other teeth (front and side) from contact. If the tips of your canines are worn down, your other teeth are unprotected.

Destructive tooth grinding

toothGrinding4Losing these protective canine tips will result in accelerated wear, flattening and shortening of all teeth. Not only will it be more difficult for you to chew your food, but you’ll also have a more ‘aged’ look. See the article on ‘How to prevent tooth grinding‘.

Restoring your canine teeth

Canine teeth can have their tips restored with colour-matched quartz composite or with full porcelain covers (‘veneers’ – they are tougher). Once restored, your canine teeth will be able to perform their natural function of preventing the wear of your other teeth.

Restoring your front teeth

If the excessive wear has been allowed to progress too far, you may need anywhere between a further two to ten upper teeth restored (with veneers). In more extreme cases, lower teeth may also need restoration. With all the necessary restorations in place, you’ll have a younger look and your underlying tooth structure will be protected from further damage.

The CAP City Dental practice in London City EC4 has great experience in applyingDental Mock-Ups, using tooth coloured plastic-like composite material. This allows you to evaluate the functional and aesthetic effect of a make-over, particularly if porcelain veneers are to be considered.

Additional protection

toothGrinding3If you’re a habitual ‘tooth grinder’ then this habit will be hard to break. You’re probably doing it subconsciously at night. Whether your teeth are restored or not, you may be advised to invest in a customized plastic tooth guard that you wear at night. This guard will prevent your teeth (or your veneers) from grinding against one another while you sleep.

Dental Function is also concerned with:

Adjusting the dental ‘bite’
Replacing missing teeth