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Dental Damage and Tooth Abfractions

By Dr. Ribeiro on July 10, 2017

An illustration of a normal tooth and a tooth with abfractionWhen it comes to dental damage, most people are aware of tooth decay, but few have heard of tooth abfractions. Tooth abfractions are a form of dental erosion, but unlike most erosion, they aren't caused by acid or decay. General dentistry services can help diagnose and treat tooth abfractions for improved oral health and confidence.

Protecting the teeth from tooth abfractions begins with understanding the causes as well as the risks associated with dental damage and tooth abfractions. Read this overview from Clarksville, TN dentist Richard C. Ribeiro to learn more.

About Tooth Abfractions

Tooth abfractions are a form of tooth erosion caused by mechanical forces rather than decay or acid exposure. These physical forces specifically include those that cause the teeth to bend, such as teeth grinding, teeth clenching, or a misaligned bite.

Sometimes called abfraction lesions, tooth abfractions appear as notches that develop near the gum line of the teeth. Abfractions commonly develop where the hard enamel layer of the teeth gives way to the softer cementum layer.

Dental Damage and Tooth Abfractions

Tooth abfractions often start as angular notches but may become more rounded as erosion progresses. Without intervention, tooth abfractions will continue to erode, increasing the risk of permanent dental damage. Some possible forms of dental damage that may develop as a result of untreated tooth abfractions include:

  • Tooth decay: Tooth abfractions damage the enamel and cementum layers of the teeth. This leaves the inner dentin layer exposed to bacteria and acids that can cause the teeth to decay.
  • Dental sensitivity: Exposure of the dentin layer also increases the risk of dental sensitivity. This is because the dentin is full of microscopic holes that lead to the inner chamber of the teeth, where the nerves and blood vessels of the teeth reside. Temperature changes can reach the nerves through these tubules, causing pain when eating and drinking certain foods.
  • Root canal infections: If tooth abfractions are left untreated and severe decay develops, a root canal infection may develop. Root canal infections occur when bacteria reaches the nerves, blood vessels, and pulp tissues inside the center of the tooth. Because root canal infections directly impact the nerves of the teeth, which regulate dental sensitivity, they are very painful. If left untreated, root canal infections may cause the tooth to die or the infection can spread to the surrounding tissues. 
  • Tooth loss: When dental damage caused by tooth abfractions is left untreated and becomes severe, the teeth may become so damaged that they fall out on their own. In other cases, extraction may be the only option to restore oral health.

Schedule a Consultation

What may begin as a minor dental abfraction may quickly becomes something more severe. Fortunately, treatments are available to restore the health of teeth damaged by dental abfractions. For more information about tooth abfractions, or to learn more about your treatment options, you're encouraged to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ribeiro.

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Dr. Ribeiro has been my dentist for many years, and he has always provided exceptional service. His staff is very professional and courteous. They always go out of their way to ensure I have a pleasant experience. Tina Reed

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Clarksville Office

2305 Rudolphtown Rd
Clarksville, TN 37043

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Clarksville Office

2305 Rudolphtown Rd
Clarksville, TN 37043

Open Today 8:00am - 5:00pm

More Info Directions (931) 645-6362