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Archive for March 2015

Dental Abfractions

abfraction
What you see in the photograph above is an example of dental abfraction. The discolouration and loss of enamel at the gum line is not a cavity. This is caused by grinding forces on the teeth.

Teeth actually bend at the microscopic level. The enamel is thin in the areas close to the gum line. As the teeth bend from excessive grinding forces, the enamel shears away from the tooth where it is thin, at the gum line. This exposes the underlying tooth structure, the dentin, which also stains over time. This is the discolouration in the first photograph.

Once the dentin is exposed, the abrasive nature of toothpaste can wear these areas even further. These areas can be sensitive to cold and sweets.

The teeth above where repaired very simply with dental composite resin material but the patients underlying grinding problem has to be addressed as well. This often requires an examination of the jaw joint and the occlusion, or the way the teeth fit together. The treatment may be as simple as a night guard to protect the teeth from grinding forces and an occlusal equilibration, which means to balance the bite so the chewing forces are more evenly and appropriately distributed among the teeth.

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Dental Erosion Repair

erosion1Before
erosion2After

What you see in the photo above is a typical example of dental erosion. The patient was concerned because the teeth looked yellow at the gum line and although she whitened her teeth to try to get rid of the discolouration, it was not successful.

This is because the enamel on the tooth at the gum line has been dissolved away by acid. What you see is the underlying tooth structure, dentin, which is yellow. The dentin is less resistant to acid erosion so it will wear away even quicker than the enamel.

I restored the teeth with the use of dental composite material. The shade is matched to the tooth for an esthetically pleasing result. More importantly, the dentin is now covered to prevent further erosion from acidic foods.

The most acidic foods are often citrus foods. It is a good idea to cut down on these if you have them daily. Other foods and drinks to be careful with include: carbonated drinks, wine, pickled foods, yoghurt and sports drinks.

Please see our previous post about acid erosion for more information.

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