teeth showing abfraction

Do you see notches at the gum line of your teeth?

These may be teeth abrasions or abfraction lesions

You may have teeth abrasion. It could also be what is called Abfraction. Alki family dental can help you determine the best course of action to maintain your oral health and keep those pearly whites!

What are abfraction lesions?

Abfractions appear as wedge-shaped notches at the gumline and are not cavities. Abfractions can extend below the gum line and are primarily attributed to teeth clenching and/or grinding of the teeth.

Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry recognizes that chemical, biological and behavioral factors may contribute to abfraction. Other factors such as Acid Reflux or excessive consumption of acidic foods or beverages may also contribute.

Tooth Crown illustrationWhat are teeth abrasion?

People often confuse teeth abrasions with gum recession, and sometimes gum recession accompanies root abrasion, but not always. Teeth Abrasion are the loss of tooth structure by mechanical forces from a foreign element. Tooth structure is composed of crown and root. The root portion (dentin) is weaker than the crown portion (enamel). Enamel is the strongest bone in the body while dentin is relatively soft. Using a stiff toothbrush and/or abrasive toothpaste can cause structural damage to your root surface. This resulting damage is called abrasion.

Several factors can cause abrasion and abfraction lesions -these are the top three:

  1. tooth brush
    A soft tooth brush is better for your teeth and gums than a hard one.  Some people feel the need to “scrub” their teeth, but keep in mind that we are cleaning live teeth, not  tires. We recommend using an extra soft toothbrush with a very thin bristle and gently cleaning your teeth and gums with a circular motion.
  2. tooth paste
    Every tooth paste contains either silica or silicon dioxide to make the teeth smooth. However if there is to much in the paste, it can abrade your  tooth structure.  The RDH number on the package represents the abrasive level.  We recommend below 70.
    Toothbrush chart
  3. pH
    pH is the level of  acidity. Below pH 7 represents acidic and above pH 7 represents basic. We recommend a pH higher than 7 in the mouth for 2 reasons:

    1. When our mouth is acidic, tooth structure becomes weak because calcium and phosphate leach from the  tooth.
    2. Bacteria likes an acidic environment. This is one of the reasons  dental professionals discourage drinking  soda and energy drinks

Abrasion can also be cause by the forces of your bite, however this is a less frequent cause.

If you have tooth sensitivity, please come and get it checked out as soon as possible. If you have aesthetic concerns we can help you with that as well Usually we can just cover the abraded area with tooth colored composite.

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Abfraction