Have you noticed your front teeth getting shorter and darker in the middle? There is no cavity so should I get it fixed?
As a dentist, these are questions I get asked from patients. When I first started in practice the mantra: “if it isn’t a cavity, if it isn’t broken” all made sense, so I didn’t restore these teeth. What I found is that these teeth often get shorter and shorter and when I finally restored them, I was amazed at how much I was “putting back that had worn off”. Not only does this make the teeth look better but it keeps them from wearing and chipping away. The middle of the tooth is much softer and more vulnerable to erosion from the acids in our mouth.
Another issues with worn teeth is that it can allow for the teeth opposing to move to touch the worn tooth. This can cause shifting of the bite and interferences when one chews.
How do we restore these teeth?
Sometimes bonding with a composite resin can build up the tooth. Other times a veneer or crown will be needed. The first step is to look at the bite, evaluate where everything touches and evaluate if there is room to restore what was lost or just to restore enough to prevent future wear. Your dentist might even take impressions of your teeth and a registration of the position of your teeth to mount on an articulator (an instrument that is used to simulate the mouth movements) so your bite can be evaluated outside of your mouth.
How long do these restorations last?
A lot depends on your habits: clenching, bruxing, biting on hard objects (pins, nails, etc), good bonding technique and how well you care for your mouth. I would guess few of us would not appreciate a more beautiful smile. Restoring the tooth before too much damage is done may save you money over the long haul.