Have you ever noticed a small, dark, wedge- or crescent-shaped notch carved into the base of one or more teeth?
That notch may, in fact, be an abfraction.
Abfractions look similar to the wear caused on teeth by aggressive tooth brushing but are caused by something else entirely. An abfraction is the result of a tooth flexing under excessive pressure over time. This pressure is often due to a tooth’s being out of proper alignment. When one or more teeth are even a little off-set, this opens them up to an unequal distribution of the bite force. Even teeth that are well-aligned can experience abfraction if regularly subjected to the excessive force of a grinding/clenching habit.
Abfractions typically only affect the enamel, which is the protective outer layer of the tooth. This means that abfractions generally do not cause discomfort. In severe cases, abfractions can extend into the deeper layers of the tooth and cause sensitivity. Although found more commonly on the back teeth, the lesion can also be found on the front teeth.
Abfractions jeopardize teeth by wearing away at their structure, undermining their strength. Teeth can break if the abfraction continues.
Unfortunately, there is no way to reverse an abfraction.
Abfractions are irreversible as natural tooth structure will not grow back. Some of the causative factors can be addressed by adjusting the bite, correcting tooth-alignment, and preventing excessive stress through use of a bite guard. Abfractions may worsen over time or not change, at all.
It is possible to reinforce an affected tooth with a simple filling. You might actually prefer to have one or more teeth filled to improve their appearance. Visit your dentist to learn more about how to enhance your smile by correcting abfractions.
Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
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