About the Dental Damage Caused by Abfractions

May 24, 2017 — by Kenneth W. Coffey, DDS
Tags: General Dentistry Restorative Dentistry

About tooth abfractionsThe team at our Orland Park dental care center can treat numerous dental problems using the latest restorative dentistry treatments. These procedures can restore tooth structure and improve overall dental wellness in the process.

While many people understand what tooth decay and enamel erosion entail, there's another dental health issue known as dental abfraction that people are less familiar with. Let's cover the basics and discuss the dangers.

What Are Dental Abfractions?

Dental abfractions refer to the notches that form along the base of the teeth where a tooth's structure meets the gumline. You may be able to feel these little notches with your tongue. In serious cases, you can see the notch in your tooth structure when looking in the mirror.

Dental abfractions are a common issue people face, though they are a separate dental problem, distinct from tooth decay and acidic erosion of the tooth enamel.

The Causes of Dental Abfractions

There are two primary causes of dental abfractions and a contributing factor. They are as follows:

  • Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) – Teeth grinding refers to the gnashing and clenching of teeth during sleep. Many people do this as a result of stress, poor dental alignment, symptoms of medical conditions, and even as a result of medication side effects. The stress on the teeth over a long period of time can lead to abfractions forming.

  • Crooked Teeth (Malocclusion) – When teeth are poorly aligned, it can bring about two issues germane to abfractions. On the one hand, malocclusion often results in excessive stress placed on certain teeth, causing abfraction over time. In addition, poor dental alignment is a potential cause or contributing factor to teeth grinding.

  • Aggressive Toothbrushing – Though not considered a primary cause any longer, aggressive brushing of the teeth can lead to a deepening of the notches along the gumline.

Keep in mind that combinations of the above are not uncommon.

Effects on Dental Health and Tooth Structure

The the tooth structure at the gumline is compromised, it can lead to a number of problems that affect your dental health and wellness.

  • Tooth Sensitivity – When dental abfraction occurs, people are more likely to experience tooth sensitivity because of the loss of enamel. This can get worse as the condition progresses.

  • Risk of Tooth Decay – With less healthy tooth enamel, the risks and dangers of tooth decay increase. Tooth decay down at the gumline is much more difficult to treat than tooth decay at the crown of the tooth.

  • Risk of Root Canal Infection – With serious tooth decay comes a risk of root canal infection, which means that oral bacteria has reached the soft tissue inside of a tooth.

  • Risk of Severe Dental Fractures – As the tooth weakens near the gumline, there is a chance of cracks or major fractures to form at this weakened portion of the tooth structure. This can lead to tooth loss.

Treating and Preventing Dental Abfractions

The idea treatment for dental abfractions involves restoring the missing tooth structure and also addressing the root cause of the problem. During a consultation at our practice, we can go over numerous treatment options and which one may be most ideal for you and your needs.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care

For more information about treating tooth abfractions and improving your overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at our practice is here to help you smile with renewed confidence.

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