Abfraction Damage and Treatment

Abfraction is a mechanical loss of tooth structure along the gum line that is not caused by tooth decay. Tooth tissue is gradually weakened causing loss through fracture and chipping or successively worn away, leaving a non-carious lesion (abfraction) on the tooth surface.

Where does damage from abfraction occur?

These lesions occur in both the enamel and dentin of the tooth, particularly at the tooth neck where the cementum covers the root of a tooth and the enamel of the tooth meet near the gum line.

What causes Abfraction?

Anaheim abfraction Orange Couny

Abfraction could due to one of the several reasons listed below.

  • Brushing
  • Grinding
  • Cleaning
  • Chewing
  • Biting

The most common cause of this tooth problem is extensive use of a toothbrush over a longer period that causes visible wear. You will be more prone to abfraction if you are using a hard-bristled brush.

Since bad brushing habits can cause abfraction, it was believed that correcting these habits could easily prevent further damage to the tooth. However, recent studies have shown this to be wrong as the damage continues even after you correct your brushing technique.

In addition to brushing, putting extra stress on teeth during cleaning and grinding could also cause abfraction. During these procedures, the enamel undergoes large amounts of stress, causing micro fractures and tooth tissue loss.

Once the enamel is damaged, the softer dentine is exposed to further damage. This damage at the gum line can be substantially worsened by overly forceful tooth brushing. It is further aggravated by continuous exposure to the acidic environment produced by oral bacteria feeding on the carbohydrates in food.

Abfraction usually take time to develop but it can become extremely inconvenient and painful when it deepens. Over time, it could even affect the tooth nerve.

Abfraction is truly a complex problem and differences in genetics probably play a major role in who suffers this type of dental damage.

Treatment of Abfraction

At 7 Day Dental, we believe it is important to address all the factors that can contribute to abfraction damage. Discussion between dentist and patient will try to determine whether the patient grinds his or her teeth and whether the patient is brushing too vigorously.


It is important to stress that the problem is not in the length of time spent brushing, but rather the amount of force applied by the patient. Some people can retrain themselves to apply less force while concentrating on angling and moving the brush correctly. Other people may be helped by switching from a manual to an electric rotary toothbrush. In either case, it is important to continue brushing and flossing regularly to keep acid formation to a minimum.

Bruxing and malocclusion

Most teeth grinding during sleep is related to sleep apnea and the treatment relieves both conditions. Your dentist may want to have you evaluated by one of our specialists. The specialist will also evaluate your tooth alignment and bite. If you have especially severe malocclusion, you may need a treatment plan with several procedures.

However, the same custom-fitted oral appliance that treats bruxism and sleep apnea may also contribute to improving the alignment of your teeth. The device is worn at night, so it’s easy to use regularly and won’t interfere with daily activities.

Healthy diet

Improving your diet can help you avoid dental problems and keep them from getting worse. With abfraction, you may have exposed dentin which is especially vulnerable. Remember to minimize sweets, sugary drinks and starches. Brush (gently!) after meals and floss daily.

Do Not be afraid of the dentist!

Dr. Chuck Le
7 Day DentalOwner

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