So we’ve talked about all the different ways that teeth are worn down, through abrasion, attrition, and erosion. But there is one more way that our oral health can be compromised because of wear and tear, and it’s much less commonly known. The fourth way of wearing down our oral health is called abfraction, and the cause of it is often debated in the dentistry community.
Abfraction causes small wedged lesions on the gum line usually present on the side of the gums that faces the check. They are often narrow but deep and shaped like a v. many times these lesions will only affect one single tooth and the surrounding teeth will be perfectly fine. Abfraction can even cause the lesions to occur just under the gums in an area that is typically not affected by most forms of wear and tear such as abrasion and erosion.
What causes abfraction is the interesting part however. Many dentists have debated this issue and still have not come to an agreement about the exact cause. Some dentists believe that abfraction is simply caused by certain types of toothpaste which contain too much grit, therefore rubbing against the gums badly and causing lesions. This is similar to what we talked about with abrasion, in which we discussed how toothpaste can oftentimes rub against the teeth and wear out the enamel. Some dentists believe that abfraction is simply due to use harsh and gritty toothpastes, but many other dentists also think that the abfraction lesions are caused by toothpaste just in a different way. There are some dentists who believe that abfraction may be caused by the harsh use of toothpaste, such as using too much toothpaste or brushing too strongly.
And then there are those dentists who believe that abfraction can be caused by stress on the tooth when biting and is not at all caused by toothpaste. These dentists believe that when we bite down it strains our teeth, and often the strain carries itself through the teeth and into the gums, causing lesions. This does make sense, since when we bite down really hard oftentimes we can notice pain in the gums because of it.
If you are concerned about the different causes of abfraction and how we can help you cut down on potential abfraction damage please come see Dr. James A. Wells from South Charlotte Dentistry! We would love to see you make an appointment with Dr. Wells’ Ballantyne office by visiting our contact us page or calling 704-759-0908!