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Treatment for the Common Causes of Abfraction

Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. Jun 27, 2016

Illustration of a tooth with abfractionThe primary goal of the professional dental field is to help patients maintain the health and integrity of the teeth. One way Dr. Danny O’Keefe achieves this goal is by providing general dentistry care that can prevent the loss of healthy tooth structure. If dental damage has occurred, we offer effective restorative dentistry treatments that rebuild the teeth. Most commonly, dental damage is the result of tooth decay or acid erosion. However, there are other factors that can impact tooth structure, one of which is abfraction. A dental abfraction is a notch at the base of the tooth. Here, we discuss abfraction causes and treatment options. To schedule an appointment, contact our Jackson, MS dental practice today.

What Is Abfraction?

Abfraction is a term used to describe a notch that sometimes develops at the base of a patient’s tooth, near the gum line. This notch looks as though a small wedge has been removed from the tooth. Abfraction weakens a tooth and increases the risk of dental complications, including infection.

What Causes Abfraction?

Abfraction is caused by the general wear and tear to which the teeth are exposed. Although it is not uncommon for abfraction to develop over time, there are some habits that can accelerate the process, including:

  • Bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching)
  • Malocclusion, or a misaligned bite
  • Brushing with excessive force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush

Treating Abfraction

Once abfraction develops, the condition will continue to progress until it is treated properly. Abfraction weakens the tooth, compromises its structural integrity, and increases the risk of other dental complications, including infection. The goal of abfraction treatment is to replace tooth structure that has been lost to restore the strength of the tooth and prevent further dental problems. Most commonly, this goal is achieved through the application of a dental filling.

During a dental filling procedure Dr. O’Keefe applies a tooth-colored compound to the base of the tooth, near the gum line. This compound is used to fill in the notch of space, or the abfraction. The material is shaped to the tooth and then hardened. This will restore the strength of the tooth, as well as provide a layer of protection.

Additional Treatment

Treatment for abfraction is important, but it is also important to prevent further damage to the tooth. To address the cause of abfraction, additional treatment may be necessary. For patients who suffer from bruxism, a custom mouth guard can be fabricated to protect the teeth while a patient sleeps. If malocclusion is the cause of abfraction, orthodontic treatment may be necessary. Dr. O’Keefe will examine the teeth and recommend a treatment plan that will protect the teeth and help prevent future damage.

Schedule an Appointment

Dr. Danny O’Keefe provides a comprehensive range of dental treatments that allow patients to maintain the strength, health, and beauty of their smile. If you’d like to learn more about these treatment and how they can help you achieve your ideal smile, schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.

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