Abrasion is the mechanical loss of tooth enamel due to unwarranted friction between teeth and an external or foreign agent, most commonly, a toothbrush. It may be safe to say that we have all, at one point in our lives, encountered a person who brushes their teeth way too aggressively to the point where their toothbrushes become frayed in the duration of just a few days. Aggressive or violent toothbrushing is the key reason for abrasion whereby the force applied on the tooth enamel during brushing is heavily overloaded. This results in the “scrubbing” away of the tooth enamel.
The distinctive sign of an abrased tooth is the V-shaped or wedge-shaped ditch that appears on the tooth just adjacent to the gum line. In order to prevent this from happening, it is important to remember to use gentle pressure on the teeth with your toothbrush during brushing. You may also switch out for a less abrasive toothpaste for routine use.
Erosion is the chemical loss of tooth structure that occurs when the oral cavity is exposed to high levels of acid that changes the pH of the mouth and results in tooth enamel deterioration. The tooth enamel may be dissolved through acid caused by the high intake of acidic foods and drinks such as carbonated drinks in your diet. Erosion is also a common symptom as seen in patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) wherein the patient tends to regurgitate the stomach acids, foods, and drinks back from the stomach into the esophagus.
Tooth wear due to erosion is manifested as a crescent-shaped ditch in the area of the tooth near the occlusal surface. The loss of tooth structure also gives teeth a smooth, shiny appearance. Tooth erosion is common among bulimic patients. Steer clear of acidic foods.
Abfraction is the pathological loss of tooth structure caused by the biomechanical loading forces that result in flexure and failure of the enamel. When teeth flex under pressure, they touch each other in occlusion, creating tension on one side and compression on the other side of the teeth. Due to excessive flexure forces, the tension side of the loading forces forms a V-shaped depression whereas the compression side forms a C-shaped depression.
The lesions from tooth abfraction are primarily at the cervical regions, typically wedge-shaped, with sharp internal and external line angles.
Treatment options for tooth wear
Once your dentist confirms that you are, in fact, suffering from tooth wear that in unnatural in its nature and progression, they will plan out the treatment procedures that will best benefit your teeth and oral health. In order to correct existing wear, the dentist may recommend you to avail of one of these treatment options.
Dental bonding is a procedure where a tooth-colored resin material is applied onto your tooth surfaces that exhibit deficiencies or crevices. This is a minimally invasive procedure with a wide range of applications such as for mildly broken, chipped, discolored, worn down, or cracked teeth. The resin helps cover the worn surfaces and in turn, improves the appearance of your teeth. With teeth bonding, the dentist is also able to alter the shape and size of your teeth. So, even if your teeth have worn down to a significant degree, your teeth may still be corrected with the help of dental bonding.