There are four types of tooth wear that can occur to the teeth in our mouths. These are Abrasion, Erosion, Attrition and Abfraction.
In this blog we will discuss Abrasion, which we also refer to as Abrasion Lesions.
This is the most common of the four.
It occurs while brushing your teeth, when using too much force, brushing too hard or for too long.
Other causes of abrasion lesions are based on bad habits such as, using tooth picks and floss with too much force, finger nail biting, chewing pens and pencils (which leave notches in the tooth), holding pins and needles habitually between the teeth.
Abrasion, caused by improper brushing usually affects the canines and premolar teeth. The lesion shows up at the root surface of the tooth.
The root surface of the tooth is made up of dentin. It is quite soft and wears quickly if improper forces are applied. This often results in a V-shaped groove at the neck of the teeth (called a notched lesion).
At times these grooves are very deep and reach the pulp (nerve) of the tooth.
Abrasive toothpastes do not help this condition; fact is they worsen it.
Whitening toothpastes have abrasives in them which act by removing stains on the surface of the enamel, I.e. Coffee, tea, but the problem is that abrasives tend to remove enamel as well.
If abrasion is present and severe, then it may be best to avoid using toothpaste. Perhaps consider using fluoride or a xylitol mouth rinse. Dip a piece of gauze in these solutions and gently wipe the teeth.
Treatment for Abrasion Lesions
1. Try changing your tooth brush – use a soft tooth brush.
2. Do not brush horizontally – go vertically (up and down), starting at a 45 degree angle to the gums (see blog “Proper Oral Hygiene Techniques – Part 2” posted on February 25, 2012).
3. Change tooth pastes if too abrasive or use a gauze wipe and a fluoride or xylitol mouth rinse that we mentioned above.
Treating Teeth with Abrasion Lesions
By treating these areas, we are preventing them from getting deeper and closer to the nerve.
We restore these ‘notched’ lesions with white filling material. This gets the natural convex shape of the tooth back as opposed to being concave.
Not only does this restore the natural shape and stops the progression towards the nerve, but the addition of the filling material also tends to decrease cold and sweet sensitivity. This is because the exposed nerve endings are now covered up!
In the next blog, we will look at Dental Erosion…until then!
Yours in good dental health…
Dr. Robert Axlerad, Brampton Dentist