What is the iTero scanner?

The iTero intraoral scanner is a piece of equipment used by a range of dental professionals, from general dentists to orthodontists, which provides a 3D digital scan of a patient’s teeth and their bite. Once this scan has been taken, the dentist can see what adjustments can be made through different treatment plans, as well as monitoring changes to the teeth when taking several scans over a long period of time.

How does the iTero scanner benefit our oral health?

The iTero scanner’s primary purpose is to monitor a patient’s tooth wear as well as tooth movement, but the main focus of this blog is tooth wear.

So what is tooth wear, and why do I need to be aware of it?

As dental professionals, we tend to split how teeth are being worn down into three categories – abrasion, attrition and gingival recession.

Dental abrasion is the wearing away of the enamel, the protective layer over the teeth, so a lesser amount of enamel leaves the sensitive parts within exposed to bacteria and further abrasion. Dental attrition is a completely natural process where the whole tooth structure becomes worn, similar to how waves gradually erode rock. Attrition is generally less serious, although certain habits can enhance the amount of wearing on the teeth. Gingival recession is the drawing away of the gingivae (gums) away from the teeth. This type pf tooth wear would result in the exposure of root surfaces, which in turn may require tooth extraction if left untreated.

And how does tooth wear occur in the first place?

There are several factors, some being natural and some personal, that impact the amount of tooth wear experienced by a patient.

Here are some causes of each type of tooth wear – if you are unsure whether you experience some of these, you can seek advice from one of our dental professionals:

Causes of abrasion:

  • Ill-fitting retainers
  • Natural acids in diet
  • Gastric/acid reflux
  • Over-brushing

Causes of attrition:

  • Grinding
  • Clenching
  • Chewing
  • Ageing (much more subtle

Causes of gingival recession:

  • Over-brushing
  • Aggressive brushing and/or flossing
  • Genetics
  • Abnormal tooth positioning
  • Grinding
  • Trauma to gum tissue
  • Poor oral health

If you feel that you do experience these factors, don’t lose hope! There are some prevention methods you can put into place, either yourself or through a professional:

Preventing abrasion:

  • Consider using re-mineralising products such as pro-enamel toothpaste or high fluoride mouthwash to help strengthen enamel
  • Avoid carbonated, high sugar drinks and sugary foods
  • Have retainers checked by a professional if they are causing discomfort
  • Don’t brush your teeth after eating/drinking sugary foods/drinks
  • Use a soft-bristled brush no more than twice a day

Preventing attrition:

  • Have a night mouth guard made by a dentist if you are experiencing grinding/clenching
  • Avoid biting nails

Preventing gingival recession:

  • Use a soft-bristled brush no more than twice a day
  • Use fluoride-based products to restore enamel
  • Have a night mouth guard made by a dentist if you are experiencing grinding/clenching