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Tooth Abfractions, the Dental Damage They Cause, and Their Treatment

By J. Brent Gorrell on June 03, 2017

Illustration of a normal tooth next to an illustration of a tooth with an abfractionHave you ever felt, either with the tips of your fingers or your tongue, what seem to be little indentations in your teeth at the gum line? If so, this is actually a fairly common dental condition. These notches, called tooth abfractions, start out as relatively minor structural abnormalities in the teeth. However, if left untreated, they can become worse and actually threaten the tooth. Fortunately, there are advanced restorative dentistry treatments that are available to return teeth affected by abfractions to full health and function.

At Gorrell Smiles, Dr. J. Brent Gorrell and his team of dental professionals provide a comprehensive range of dental services, including those that address dental damage and tooth abfractions. At his Mountain View, CA cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry practice, Dr. Gorrell examines each patient to diagnose the underlying cause of his or her tooth abfractions so that he can treat not only the structural damage to the teeth but prevent further damage from occurring. Patients emerge with healthier mouths that, with proper oral hygiene and twice-a-year visits to Gorrell Smiles for oral exams and professional cleanings, can last a lifetime.

If you have tooth abfractions, or you simply want to enjoy optimal oral health, please schedule your initial consultation with Dr. J. Brent Gorrell today.

The Causes of Tooth Abfractions

It was once believed that tooth abfractions were caused by overaggressive toothbrushing. While overaggressive toothbrushing can certainly worsen tooth abfractions that already exist, it is now known that abfractions are not generally caused by a person’s toothbrushing techniques, plaque, or even poor oral hygiene. The underlying causes of tooth abfractions are now generally thought to be bruxism, malocclusion, or some combination of the two.

Bruxism as a Cause of Tooth Abfractions

Bruxism, or chronic tooth grinding, places extreme pressure on the teeth - more pressure, in fact, than the teeth are designed to withstand. The teeth are strong enough to take the everyday pressures of biting and chewing. However, when people grind their teeth without realizing they are doing so, such as in their sleep, the pressure is often continual for hours on end.

Over the course of years, this can cause the enamel that protects the teeth above the gum line, as well as the cementum that protects the teeth below the gum line, to break down. This is especially true at the base of the tooth, where the majority of the pressure is placed. As the superficial layers of the teeth are damaged, the underlying dentin layer is exposed. This weaker, more porous layer is easily damaged by the pressure exerted on the teeth - hence, the formation of notches.

Malocclusion, or a “Bad Bite,” as a Cause of Tooth Abfractions

Much like bruxism, malocclusion, or a “bad bite,” can place undue pressure on the teeth. When the upper and lower teeth do not meet properly as a person bites and chews, unnecessary force is put on the teeth. As a result, the same damage is done that occurs as a result of bruxism.

Fortunately, tooth abfractions can be treated, whether through the application of dental bonding material or the placement of a dental crown. Likewise, bruxism can be treated through night guard or other therapies, while orthodontic treatments are available to treat malocclusion.

Learn More about Dental Damage and Tooth Abfractions

To learn more about dental damage and tooth abfractions, please contact Gorrell Smiles today.

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Mountain View Office

809 Cuesta Dr
Ste 205
Mountain View, CA 94040

Open Today 9:00am - 1:00pm

More Info Directions (650) 967-1441