An abfraction is defined as the process of losing the tooth enamel and eventually the dentin in cervical areas of teeth. This was once believed to be caused from brushing too much or with too much vigor, but it is now believed that this is not the case at all. Instead, it is believed that this condition is caused by a malocclusion, or bad bite, in the mouth that causes the teeth to strike at different times and not together when biting, chewing, or eating. This grinding causes the enamel to flex and break resulting in the notches or markings that are noted to be obvious indications of an abfraction.
This can be treated in two phases. The first phase, or step, in treating an abfraction is to identify the malocclusion and then correct it. If the teeth are not able to work together, then there is a grinding that takes place. By correcting the bite problem, this condition is likely going to be solved. Of course, now the teeth or tooth involved in this once bad bite must be contended with after the first step is completed. In some cases, the bite problem may be so severe that it requires orthodontics, but in many cases it can be dealt with in the dentist’s office through a few visits.
The final step in correcting an abfraction is to fill the affected tooth or teeth with a bonding agent so that they will not suffer any further damage and be hardened to protect them in their new repaired state. If the teeth are not sealed, there is a chance that decay, cavities, and even a root canal will be in the patient’s future. This is why it is crucial to repair the damage.