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Teeth erosion & tooth wear management

Tooth wear management is more than just addressing wear and tear; it’s about preserving your natural smile while ensuring optimal oral health. 

From preventing further wear to enhancing your smile’s natural beauty, we are committed to providing comprehensive solutions that prioritise your dental well-being.

worn down teeth at WeSmile Dental Singapore

What is a tooth wear?

Tooth wear refers to the gradual loss of tooth structure over time, which can occur due to a variety of reasons.

This natural process can affect the enamel (the outer protective layer of the tooth), dentin (the underlying layer), and even the dental pulp (the innermost part containing nerves and blood vessels).

Beyond your teeth becoming aesthetically displeasing, it can also lead to serious dental issues if left untreated. 

What are the types of tooth wear?

Understanding the different types of tooth wear is crucial for maintaining optimal dental health and preserving your natural smile. Tooth wear can occur due to various factors, each contributing to unique challenges and effects on your teeth.

By exploring the types of tooth wear, including abrasion, attrition, and erosion, we can better grasp the causes, symptoms, and appropriate management strategies to protect and enhance your dental well-being.

Teeth abrasion

teeth abrasion at WeSmile Dental Singapore

Teeth abrasion is a type of tooth wear that occurs when the tooth enamel wears away due to external factors. This can happen as a result of aggressive brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush, using abrasive toothpaste, or engaging in habits like biting on hard objects or using teeth as tools to open packages.

Over time, repeated friction and pressure on the enamel lead to its gradual erosion. Teeth abrasion often manifests as flattened or worn tooth surfaces, especially near the gum line or areas where brushing force is concentrated.

While proper oral hygiene is essential, gentle brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoiding abrasive toothpaste can help prevent excessive abrasion and preserve enamel integrity.

Teeth Attrition aka Teeth Grinding Damage

Teeth attrition, commonly known as teeth grinding or bruxism, refers to the gradual wear and tear that occurs when the surfaces of teeth rub against each other. This condition can occur during sleep (sleep bruxism) or while awake (awake bruxism) and is often associated with stress, anxiety, misaligned teeth, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

The continuous grinding and clenching motion exert significant pressure on the teeth, leading to flattened, chipped, or fractured tooth surfaces over time. Teeth attrition can also result in increased tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, headaches, and compromised dental aesthetics.

Treatment options for teeth grinding may include wearing a custom night guard, stress management techniques, orthodontic interventions, and addressing underlying TMJ issues.

The most common type of tooth wear — teeth erosion

eroded teeth at WeSmile Dental Singapore

Teeth erosion is the most common type of tooth wear and is caused by acids that wear down the tooth enamel. These acids can come from external sources such as acidic foods and beverages (e.g., citrus fruits, sodas, wine) or internal factors like acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) and frequent vomiting.

The acidic environment softens and erodes the enamel, leading to thinning, roughening, and discolouration of teeth. Symptoms of teeth erosion may include increased tooth sensitivity, especially to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic stimuli, as well as changes in tooth appearance such as yellowing or transparency at the edges.

Managing teeth erosion involves identifying and addressing the underlying causes, modifying dietary habits, using fluoride products for remineralisation, and considering protective measures such as dental sealants or veneers to restore tooth structure and aesthetics.

Signs and symptoms of teeth erosion

Understanding the signs and symptoms of teeth erosion is crucial for maintaining optimal dental health and addressing potential issues early on. By recognising these signs early, you can take proactive steps to protect your enamel, reduce sensitivity, and preserve your natural smile.

Let’s explore the common signs and symptoms associated with teeth erosion to help you identify and address any concerns promptly:

When you notice that your teeth are becoming shorter or flatter, it’s often a visible sign of tooth erosion. This erosion can occur due to acidic substances in your diet or other factors that weaken the enamel over time. As the enamel wears away, the teeth may appear smaller or less prominent. If left untreated, this can lead to increased sensitivity and other dental issues.

The presence of holes or pits in your teeth can indicate advanced erosion and should be addressed promptly. These holes are often a result of decay caused by acid erosion, cavities, or other dental problems. Ignoring these signs can lead to further deterioration of the tooth structure and potential infections.

Uneven or jagged tooth edges may suggest erosion affecting the tooth structure. As enamel wears away unevenly, it can alter the shape and appearance of your teeth. This can not only affect your smile aesthetics but also impact your bite and chewing efficiency.

Discolouration and thinning of teeth are common signs of enamel erosion, which exposes the underlying dentin layer. Dentin is naturally yellowish, so as it becomes more visible due to enamel loss, the teeth may appear yellow or discoloured. Thinning enamel also makes the teeth more susceptible to damage and sensitivity.

Eroded enamel can lead to increased sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods, as well as tooth pain. The loss of enamel exposes the underlying dentin and nerves, making the teeth more sensitive to external stimuli. Persistent tooth pain or sensitivity should be evaluated by a dentist to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Changes in tooth shape and structure due to erosion can affect chewing efficiency. As the enamel wears away and teeth become shorter or uneven, it can impact how your teeth come together during chewing. This can lead to discomfort or difficulty when biting and chewing food.

Teeth grinding and clenching associated with erosion can cause jaw pain and headaches. The excessive pressure exerted on the teeth due to grinding or clenching can strain the jaw muscles and joints, leading to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues and associated symptoms like jaw pain, headaches, and facial discomfort. Managing teeth grinding and addressing underlying dental issues can help alleviate these symptoms.

Common causes of teeth erosion

dental erosion at WeSmile Dental Singapore

Teeth erosion can be attributed to various factors, both intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external), that contribute to the gradual wearing down of the tooth enamel.

Understanding these common causes is essential for preventing or managing teeth erosion effectively:

Consuming acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, sodas, sports drinks, fruit juices, and vinegar-based foods can expose your teeth to acids that soften and erode the enamel over time. Frequent consumption of these acidic items without proper oral hygiene measures can accelerate enamel erosion.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux causes stomach acids to flow back into the oesophagus and occasionally into the mouth. These acids are highly corrosive and can contribute to enamel erosion if they come into contact with your teeth regularly. Chronic acid reflux sufferers are particularly at risk for dental erosion.

Saliva plays a crucial role in neutralising acids in the mouth and remineralising enamel. A reduction in saliva production, often due to conditions like dry mouth or certain medications, can create an acidic environment in the mouth, making teeth more susceptible to erosion.

Persistent teeth grinding or clenching, known as bruxism, can lead to enamel wear and tear. The constant friction and pressure exerted on the teeth during grinding can gradually wear down the enamel, especially along the biting surfaces.

Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or aggressive brushing techniques can erode the enamel over time, particularly at the gum line and on the surfaces of teeth. It’s important to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle brushing motions to avoid unnecessary abrasion.

Certain medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and some asthma medications, can contribute to reduced saliva production or dry mouth, increasing the risk of enamel erosion. It’s essential to discuss potential side effects of medications with your healthcare provider and practice good oral hygiene habits.

Some mouthwashes, toothpaste, and oral hygiene products contain acids or abrasive substances that, when used excessively or improperly, can contribute to enamel erosion. It’s advisable to choose fluoride-based products and consult with your dentist for recommendations on oral care products suitable for your needs.

Environmental factors such as occupational exposure to acidic substances, industrial chemicals, or pool water with low pH levels can also contribute to enamel erosion over time.

Tooth wear management by aesthetic dentistry experts

Tooth wear management by our aesthetic dentistry experts encompasses a range of comprehensive treatments tailored to the severity of the condition. Our experienced dentists focus on preserving your natural smile while addressing the underlying causes of tooth wear.

Here are the various recommendations our aesthetic dentistry expert may provide based on the severity of your tooth erosion:

Early Tooth Wear Management: Behavioural Modification

In the early stages of tooth wear, our dentists emphasise behavioural modification techniques to prevent further deterioration. This includes educating patients about proper oral hygiene practices, avoiding abrasive brushing techniques, and adopting a tooth-friendly diet low in acidic and sugary foods.

Additionally, we may recommend lifestyle changes to reduce teeth grinding or clenching habits, such as stress management techniques or wearing a mouth guard.

Moderate Tooth Wear Management: Interceptive Dental Treatment

For moderate cases of tooth wear where enamel loss is noticeable but not extensive, our dentists offer interceptive dental treatments. This may involve rebuilding worn-down teeth using composite resin restorations.


Composite bonding can restore teeth to their original height, improve aesthetics, and provide structural support to prevent further wear. This conservative approach helps preserve natural tooth structure while addressing cosmetic concerns and functional issues.

Severe Tooth Wear Management: Full Mouth Restoration

In severe cases of tooth wear, where significant enamel loss has occurred and multiple teeth are affected, our dentists recommend full mouth restoration procedures.

This comprehensive approach involves a combination of restorative treatments to rebuild and rejuvenate the entire dentition. Depending on individual needs, treatment options may include:

  • Orthodontic Intervention: Braces or clear aligners may be used to realign misaligned teeth and correct bite issues caused by severe tooth wear. This helps distribute biting forces evenly and prevents further wear on specific teeth.
  • Crowns: Dental crowns are custom-made restorations that cover and protect damaged or weakened teeth. They restore tooth height, shape, and function while enhancing aesthetics and durability.
  • Veneers: Porcelain veneers are thin shells bonded to the front surfaces of teeth to improve their appearance, restore lost enamel, and address cosmetic imperfections caused by tooth wear. Veneers can create a natural-looking, uniform smile.
  • Dental Implants: In cases of tooth loss due to severe wear or damage, dental implants may be recommended to replace missing teeth. Implants provide a stable foundation for crowns or bridges, restoring both function and aesthetics.

Our aesthetic dentistry experts prioritise a personalised approach to tooth wear management, considering each patient’s unique needs and goals.
At WeSmile Dental, our aim is to preserve healthy tooth structure, restore aesthetics, and optimise oral health for a confident, long-lasting smile.

About our aesthetic dentistry philosophy​

At WeSmile Dental, we believe in the transformative power of a confident smile. Our philosophy is centred around achieving beautiful, natural-looking smiles while prioritising the overall health and well-being of our patients. We are committed to providing personalised care and innovative solutions that exceed expectations and deliver outstanding results.

Dr. Khoo and our team of experienced dental professionals are dedicated to staying at the forefront of advancements in cosmetic dentistry, keeping up to date on new techniques and materials to achieve exceptional outcomes. We take the time to listen to our patients’ concerns and goals, tailoring each treatment plan to their unique needs and preferences.

Whether you are seeking minor enhancements or a complete smile makeover, you can trust that you are in capable hands at WeSmile Dental. We are committed to providing you with a positive and rewarding dental experience, helping you achieve the smile of your dreams and enjoy a lifetime of confidence and happiness.

WESMILE+ smile analysis

About our aesthetic dentistry expert – Dr. Khoo Huan Ding

Dr. Khoo Huan Ding is a highly skilled and experienced dentist with a passion for aesthetic dentistry. Holding a Masters in Aesthetic Dentistry from King’s College London, she is recognised for her expertise in cosmetic dental procedures and her commitment to delivering exceptional results.

With a focus on patient-centred care and attention to detail, Dr. Khoo strives to exceed her patients’ expectations and help them achieve their ideal smiles. She combines artistry and precision to create natural-looking and harmonious results that enhance facial aesthetics and boost confidence. Read more about her here. 

Tooth wear management cost in Singapore

At WeSmile Dental, we aim to provide accessible and fairly-priced tooth wear management services in Singapore. The cost of treatment varies based on factors like severity and chosen options.

Contact us for a personalised assessment and transparent cost breakdown, ensuring affordability without compromising quality care.

More common questions we get on tooth wear management

While early stages of tooth wear may be managed and prevented from progressing further through interventions such as dental bonding, fluoride treatments, or dietary adjustments, advanced stages of wear may not be fully reversible.

In severe cases where significant enamel loss has occurred, restorative procedures like dental crowns or veneers may be necessary to restore tooth structure and aesthetics. Seeking early intervention and regular dental check-ups are key to monitoring and managing tooth wear effectively for better outcomes.

Slowing down dental erosion involves adopting preventive measures to protect enamel and maintain oral health. This includes avoiding or limiting acidic foods and beverages that can erode enamel, practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly, using fluoride-containing dental products to strengthen enamel, and scheduling regular dental check-ups for professional assessment and treatment. These proactive steps can help mitigate the effects of erosion and preserve tooth structure.

Preventing teeth attrition caused by nighttime teeth grinding (bruxism) involves wearing a custom-fitted mouth guard. It acts as a protective barrier, cushioning the teeth and reducing the impact of grinding and clenching forces during sleep.

This helps prevent wear and tear on tooth surfaces, minimise enamel loss, and alleviate associated symptoms like jaw pain and headaches. Additionally, stress management techniques and addressing underlying causes of bruxism can contribute to effective prevention.

To reduce the likelihood of teeth abrasion, it’s important to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle brushing techniques. Avoid using excessive force or scrubbing motions, as these can wear down enamel and irritate gum tissues.

Instead, use short, circular motions to clean all tooth surfaces thoroughly without causing damage. Additionally, selecting a toothpaste with fluoride and mild abrasives can help maintain oral hygiene without compromising enamel integrity.

If you have any other questions that we didn’t address, feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll be delighted to provide further assistance and address any inquiries you may have regarding our tooth wear management or any other dental services.