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By Dwight D. Peccora, DDS on

Mature woman during a dental appointment.

Dental abfractions are v-shaped notches that appear near the gingival margin. These lesions are not caused by decay. Rather, they are the result of certain dental conditions, such as bruxism (teeth grinding).

At Fort Bend Dental in Missouri City, TX, our doctors offer treatment for dental abfractions. Restorative dentistry treatments can fill in dental abfractions and strengthen the teeth.

What Causes Dental Abfractions?

Although there is still some mystery surrounding the exact cause of abfractions, most experts agree the condition develops as a result of flexing. When the teeth flex under extreme pressure, it can lead to enamel erosion, making the teeth even more susceptible to damage.

Common causes of abfraction lesions include:

  • Bruxism: As aforementioned, abfractions are commonly caused by teeth grinding or clenching. When excessive force is placed on the teeth, the enamel rods within the outer layer will be destroyed.
  • Malocclusion: When the teeth do not fit together properly, it can lead to uneven wear and tear. To avoid damage to the teeth, gums, and supporting jawbone, the forces must be evenly balanced across the bite.
  • Acidic erosion: A diet high in acidic foods and beverages will lead to erosion of the enamel. This makes the teeth more vulnerable to abfractions.

What Are the Risks of Abfraction Lesions?

Anytime the structure of a tooth is damaged, your oral health is compromised. When notching or abfractions appear, the underlying tooth layers are exposed to harmful sugars and acids.

Additionally, the teeth may become more sensitive to heat, cold, and sweets. If left untreated, teeth damaged by abfraction lesions become much more vulnerable to fractures.

Treatment for Dental Abfractions

To treat a dental abfraction, the lesion is filled, much like a cavity. Your dentist will apply composite resin material to the affected area before shaping it and curing it with a special dental light. Finally, the tooth will be smoothed and polished to a natural-looking shine.

Some abfraction lesions may be accompanied by gum recession. If necessary, a gum graft can also be performed to cover the exposed root and protect your new filling.

Preventing Dental Abfractions

There are a number of ways to prevent dental abfractions. The method recommended for you will depend on the cause of the lesion. For example, if notching has developed due to bruxism, then a custom oral appliance will be recommended to cushion the teeth and protect them from further damage.

If an improper bite has led to a dental abfraction, then your dentist may make some adjustments to balance out the forces. If necessary, orthodontic treatment may be recommended.

If acidic erosion has caused abfraction, then we will recommend dietary modifications. For example, patients should consume acidic foods and beverages in moderation and rinse their mouths thoroughly after every meal.

Contact Fort Bend Dental

If you have noticed notching near the gum line, it could be an abfraction lesion. To treat this condition proactively, schedule a consultation at our practice. Call us or contact us online anytime.

Posted on behalf of Fort Bend Dental

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