When we consider dental problems, worn teeth aren’t usually the first thing to come to mind. But so many of the more obvious issues (yellow teeth, sensitivity, unhealthy bite, jaw pain) actually stem from enamel wear. When teeth are worn and not at their full height, the jaws can’t operate in harmony. Vertical dimension of the occlusion is a fancy term that indicates just how tall the upper and lower teeth should be. Appropriate vertical dimension leads to a healthy bite, good tooth function, and a beautiful smile.

Dr. Okamura is currently working with a patient who has experienced significant enamel loss. Through neuromuscular dentistry, we have restored his teeth to their natural height and are returning health to his smile. Check out our before and after photos, and read on to learn more about all that these changes mean for healthy teeth and daily comfort.

Do you have worn teeth? Schedule a consultation to learn more about which dental treatments could help return height and happiness to your grin.

Worn Teeth Complications

Whether your teeth are severely worn or just beginning to erode, you risk encountering the following problems:

  • Discomfort performing routine functions – When your teeth are worn, they don’t perform their jobs as they should. Short teeth won’t work properly when you’re trying to bite or chew, and this can cause difficulties when eating. It may also be painful to perform regular tasks that you once took for granted.
  • TMJ pain – Worn teeth don’t fit together in a healthy, natural way. And when you pair that with their poor function, the jaw muscles have to strain to get teeth working as they should. Long-term unhealthy jaw movements can lead to damage to the jaw joints and even a TMJ disorder. On a day to day basis, you may experience a fatigued jaw, jaw pain, and discomfort radiating out from the jaw. Worn enamel causes unnecessary and unhealthy tension.

  • Migraines – Straining to fit teeth together and chew can cause muscle tension outside of the jaw. Facial pain, chronic headaches and migraines can all be byproducts of severe tooth wear.
  • Tooth sensitivity – Teeth are comprised of several layers. The outermost is the enamel, which is hard, white and protective. Just beneath the enamel is the dentin, which is yellow and softer. Losing enamel to tooth erosion exposes the dentin to some extent. This means that external stimuli are more easily able to trigger nerves within the teeth. Tooth sensitivity can make it very difficult to eat or drink especially hot or cold foods/liquids. It also leads to dental anxiety during exams.

  • Premature aging – Our smiles tell people a lot about how old we might be. Unfortunately, the aesthetic changes that accompany worn teeth suggest a more advanced age bracket. Worn teeth are yellow and appear very short in the smile. This makes individuals with tooth wear seem to be older than they really are. And with all that we assume about a person based on their smile, this is a big problem.

You can avoid these issues by pursuing restorative treatment and building back out your teeth to a healthy height.

Case Study: How We Restored This Patient’s Teeth

Dr. Okamura is in the process of helping this patient regain a full smile. Neuromuscular dentistry continues to play an important role in the restoration. This field of study involves determining the appropriate balance for a bite. Using specialized instruments, Dr. Okamura evaluates the jaw and pinpoints the healthy rest position it should achieve when the teeth meet.

This patient’s teeth were restored using porcelain crowns. The lower teeth were most severely worn, and have been brought back to a harmonious height. Damaged teeth were also restored, and old metal dental work replaced with porcelain. The end result is a functional, pain-free and beautiful smile.

The next step is to place dental implants on the upper left and lower right to complete the restoration of the smile. But this progress is so exciting that we wanted to share these photos along the way.

Envisioning changes like these for your own teeth? Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.

Dr. Kim Dr. Kim

Dr. Kim Okamura

I'm Dr. Kim Okamura and this blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE.