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Short teeth are commonly caused by excessive wear from grinding teeth during the day or more commonly during sleep.  Often patients don’t even realize they are doing it until I bring it to their attention.  But the results are obvious. Short teeth can ruin ones smile and also increases the likelihood of other jaw problems such as TMJ, headaches, and muscle soreness. Once the enamel is worn through, the destruction continues at an increased rate, approximately eight times as fast.

So, the question to ask yourself is:

Short Teeth: How short is enough to be a problem?

For some, it’s losing 20 percent and for others it’s 50 percent.  Once you’ve decided it’s a problem, the question is what to do about it.  Commonly, treatment consists of placing porcelain veneers to regain what is lost.  Although I think veneers are a great treatment (at least when done artistically and technically correct to mimic the best nature has to offer), I prefer to first understand what caused the problem and to avoid repeating the same problems. This way, we treat not just the symptom (worn teeth), but also the cause (tooth grinding).

Teeth Grinding:

Now the tricky part: what causes grinding? Stress is certainly one component, but bad occlusion is often the culprit as well.  Occlusion is basically a big word to describe the system of your jaw muscles, jaw joints, and teeth working in unison, or not. These structures need to be in balance with each other or else one of them suffers.  For some people, it’s teeth getting short and worn, for other people they have sore muscle or headaches, while some have TMJ problems.  Sounds simple but is easily the most misunderstood thing in dentistry because of the limited teaching in dental school of this very complex system.

A cosmetic dentist specializing in worn, short teeth.

So do yourself a favor, when seeking advice on beautifying your worn smile, consider seeing someone that has extensive postgraduate training and a passion for how the system can be healthy, beautiful, natural looking and have longevity.  I call it “SmileFit” because it reminds me so much of overall fitness which has similar benefits of looking good, feeling good and withstanding stress better.

To schedule a consultation in Aspen, CO to learn your options for improving your smile and health please call (970) 925-7730.

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