Abrasion (dental)

Abrasion (dental)
Classification and external resources
Specialty dentistry
ICD-10 K03.1
MeSH D014072

Abrasion is the loss of tooth structure by mechanical forces from a foreign element. If this force begins at the cementoenamel junction, then progression of tooth loss can be rapid since enamel is very thin in this region of the tooth. Once past the enamel, abrasion quickly destroys the softer dentin and cementum structures.

Possible sources of this wearing of tooth are toothbrushes, toothpicks, floss, and any dental appliance frequently set in and removed from the mouth. The appearance is commonly described as V-shaped when caused by excessive pressure during tooth brushing. Abrasion is seen at a cervical necks of the teeth, as a deep ridge on the buccal or labial surfaces. The surface is shiny rather than carious, and sometimes the ridge is deep enough to see the pulp chamber within the tooth itself.

The teeth most commonly affected are premolars and canines.


Modification of oral hygiene habit (such as avoiding overzealous brushing, use of soft bristle toothbrush) is important to prevent further progression. Existing abrasion cavities can be restored by dental fillings, composite and glass ionomer are both commonly used materials for such cavities.

For severe abrasion which involves pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment may be needed.

In archaeology

Archaeologists utilize evidence of dental abrasion as indication of dietary and other health issues of prehistoric peoples. There are a number of examples[1] of cranial recoveries dating thousands of years before present, where abrasion of teeth is used to analyze age and lifestyle of prehistoric peoples.

See also


  1. C.Michael Hogan (2008) Morro Creek, The Megalithic Portal, ed. by A. Burnham


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