A dental erosion (abfraction) is a loss of tooth structure in the root portion of the tooth, which typically does not contain dental decay. In other words, they are non-carious (non-cavity) cervical tooth lesions. They are often angular shaped and have very straight edges.
They can occur in the front or back portion of a tooth but are more prevalent on the front (buccal) surface of teeth. Patients may first become aware of these lesions by an increase in tooth sensitivity because abfractions typically happen near the internal tooth nerve.
If the gum tissue (gingival tissue) recedes around a tooth, it exposes the root of the tooth. The tooth root contains cementum tissue, which is much weaker than the crown portion of the tooth. When this exposed root is subject to erosion forces such as acidity from drinks, abrasion from brushing, the tooth root may wear inwards, causing cervical tooth loss. There is also a high correlation between grinding or clenching forces and the presence of abfraction lesions. Most patients are surprised to hear this fact because there is no grinding takes place on the abfraction surface. The theory behind this correlation is that the weaker or thinner abfraction area micro flexes in the presence of grinding and clenching.
If patients have abfraction lesions, further damage can be minimized by brushing gently and also avoiding prolonged exposure to the root surfaces to acidic food and drink such as colas.
Fortunately, there is a simple but technique sensitive treatment for dental erosion. Dr. Hawryluk Jr. has helped thousands of patients retina their teeth by using his practical and economical approach. The steps in this fantastic technique are as follows. Though cleansing of the 'erosion area' is the first step of this process. The application of a 'root conditioner' and 'dental bonding agent' ensues. Finally, a layer of dental composite resin is applied. Very thin diamonds are used after the placement to shape the bondings. Finally, if Dr. Hawryluk determines the cervical tooth loss is related to how the teeth interrelate, conservative bite adjustment is sometimes made.
It is always best to treat dental erosion early before too much tooth is lost. If you suspect you may have a dental abfraction and you live in the Mississauga or Toronto area, please call St. Lawrence Dentistry for an assessment.
Below are actual examples of abfractions treated by Dr. Hawryluk Jr.