Chipping Teeth

My wife has recently experienced several chips in her teeth, usually while eating. She has been getting tooth decay in the front as well as in the back molar areas. While it could stem from any number of things….sodas several a week, grinding (for several years), age 31, however she has a very well rounded diet (great bone density). She takes Lithium 300 mg 3x a day as well as Celexa, Ortho Tri Cycline and 150 mg Trazodone.

Thanks, Tom in Oklahoma

Dear Tom,

According to the medications Lithium, Celexa, and Trazodone, we are assuming your wife is suffering from some type of Bi-Polar Depression. The medication Celexa has been known to cause patients to grind their teeth. Grinding overtime causes teeth to become more brittle leading to chipping, fractures, breakage, as well as possible TMJ disorder. Grinding causes damage to the teeth but also causes one’s gums to recede, as well as loss of bone around the teeth. Many patients on this medication usually stop grinding after a few months of starting the medication, however some continue to grind their teeth. If she has been grinding for six years, we would advise her to have a custom fit mouth guard (which is used for TMJ treatment) made by her dentist to prevent her from damaging her teeth any further.

Now the medications Lithium and Trazodone are commonly known to reduce saliva in the mouth, causing a dry mouth which is a condition called Xerostomia. When the flow of saliva is greatly reduced, patients are at a higher risk for tooth decay. Our saliva helps remove plaque and when the flow of saliva is reduced there is a greater degree of mucosal dryness and dental deterioration. Patients become more at risk for tooth decay at the gum line. When patients mouths become dry they tend to suck on candies and sweetened beverages more to wet the mouth. Drinking sodas with caffeine can even make the drying effect of the mouth even worse. Sodas alone even if they are diet contain acid which erodes the enamel making teeth brittle and highly susceptible to tooth decay.

The medication Orth Tri Cycline is mainly used for birth control. This medication does not cause tooth decay, however can make one’s gums swell and bleed more. All of these medications require good dental hygiene like brushing and flossing regularly as well as routine dental cleanings. We highly recommend that soda is discontinued in the diet to reduce dental decay, drink plenty of water to keep the mouth moist, and to invest in a mouth guard to prevent further chipping.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Arthur Chal Esthetic and Reconstructive Dentistry.

Contact Us