If you have misaligned teeth or you regularly grind your teeth, you may be at risk of developing abfraction lesions. These small notches that form near the gum line can lead to serious dental damage, including tooth decay. Seeking treatment for abfraction can help repair dental damage and protect the health and beauty of the smile. Fortunately, there are a variety of restorative dentistry treatments available to treat abfraction and restore the smile. To find out if treatment for abfraction is right for you, schedule a consultation with Montreal, QC dentist Roni S. Berbari.
What Is Abfraction?
Abfraction is a dental condition recognized by small notches, or lesions, along the gum line. These lesions may be angular or may become rounded over time as a result of the friction created from using abrasive toothpastes and hard-bristled toothbrushes.
What Causes Abfraction?
It's believed abfraction is caused by the strain, pressure, and stress that result when grinding or clenching the teeth. Abfraction lesions may also develop from the pressure caused by daily chewing and biting in patients with tooth misalignment. These forces strain the teeth at a particularly vulnerable area, near the gum line, where the strong enamel layer of the teeth meets the cementum, often resulting in notches or lesions.
The Dangers of Abfraction
Abfraction is a serious condition and it can lead to dental damage. Abfraction damages the enamel, increasing the risk of tooth decay. The enamel protects the inner structures of the teeth from bacteria, acids, and decay. Once the enamel is damaged, bacteria and acids are allowed access to the inner layers of the teeth, eventually reaching the nerve and pulp tissues responsible for tooth sensitivity and the nourishment of the teeth. When these tissues become infected, known as a root canal infection, severe toothaches are often experienced and the risk of tooth loss is increased.
Treatments for Abfraction
Treating abfraction begins with determining the cause to prevent further abfraction lesions from developing. Dr. Berbari performs thorough dental examinations to determine the right course of action and restore oral health. Some common treatments for abfraction include:
- Teeth grinding treatment: Abfraction is sometimes caused by teeth grinding. In order to prevent the further development of abfraction lesions caused by teeth grinding, patients can wear a bite guard or occlusal splint during sleep.
- Orthodontics: Malocclusion, or bite issues, that cause abfraction can be treated with orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment corrects bite problems, helping to evenly distribute biting forces and preventing further development of abfraction lesions. Patients who require orthodontics have different options for orthodontic treatment. Some choose to undergo traditional orthodontics with metal braces while others prefer discreet treatment with Invisalign®.
- Tooth-colored fillings: Abfraction lesions can be directly repaired with the material used in tooth-colored fillings. This strong, durable resin is applied to the abfraction lesion, filling in the notch and restoring dental strength and appearance.
Discover Your Treatment Options
If you suspect you suffer from abfraction, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Berbari to discover your treatment options.