What Are the Preventive Measures for Dental Abrasion?
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Avoiding Dental Abrasions

Published on Nov 28, 2016 and last reviewed on Apr 10, 2023   -  4 min read


Cervical abrasions are abnormal concavities seen on the tooth surface due to mechanical wearing. Read this article for more information.

Avoiding Dental Abrasions


Cervical dental abrasion can occur anywhere, even between teeth, and is most frequently observed at the cervical necks of teeth, although it can also happen from using dental floss incorrectly or vigorously. While toothbrush abrasion has long been believed to be the main cause of cervical abrasion, acid erosion has been linked to the beginning and progression of the cervical lesion. It is obvious that identifying the risk factors is crucial for changing any behaviors and offering the right guidance.

What Is Cervical Abrasion?

Cervical abrasions are a deep concavity on the buccal side (outer side of the teeth facing the lips and the cheek) of the upper and lower teeth near the gingiva. It is mostly seen in canines, and premolars and sometimes involves the first molars too. They usually occur due to our intensive brushing habit where we just grind our brush against the teeth so roughly that along with some plaque and debris we lose the microscopic layer of enamel too. Hence dental abrasions lead to teeth sensitivity (teeth sensitivity might be due to dental erosions also).

In other words, tooth abrasion occurs when an outside mechanical force physically wears down the teeth, causing them to begin to lose enamel. This differs from tooth erosion and dental attrition, in which acids dissolve the enamel (where the upper and lower teeth rub together and damage each other). In order to fix the damage effectively, one must identify the precise cause of the problem.

What Are the Main Causes of Cervical Abrasion?

There are numerous potential causes of tooth abrasion, such as:

  • The vigorous and horizontal motion of brushing results in abrasion of enamel and loss of enamel and dentin, rather than the cleansing of teeth.

  • Hard bristles of toothbrushes considering the myth of faster cleaning. Although using old toothbrushes results in abrasion because the bristles get hardened over time due to reaction to the various chemicals present in the oral cavity along with toothpaste.

  • Biting the fingernails.

  • Rubbing the teeth with mouth jewelry.

  • Chewing pen tips or other rough items.

What Are the Characteristics Features of Cervical Abrasion?

Dental abrasion, which primarily affects premolars and canines, is tooth wear that results from friction or mechanical pressures from an outside item. A wedge- or V-shaped indentation of the tooth at the gum line is a characteristic sign of tooth wear from abrasion. The tooth also appears worn, and glossy and is frequently stained at the cervical boundary. Rough, lateral tooth brushing, biting nails, chewing on pens, smoking pipes, putting on and taking off denture clasps, abrasive dentifrices, and stiff toothbrushes are a few causes of abrasion. By bonding a tooth-colored filling over the tooth's abraded area, toothbrush abrasion can be corrected.

What Are the Preventive Measures for Dental Abrasion?

The purpose of brushing is to eliminate food particles and plaque, and the tooth and gum area should only be subjected to extremely mild pressure. The best strategy to preserve the teeth is to prevent abrasion from occurring in the first place since enamel cannot regenerate once it has been damaged. The preventive measures include,

  • Gentle brushing.

  • Advised to use a nonabrasive toothpaste (preferably one that contains fluoride) with soft-bristled toothbrush.

  • Recommended to employ brief, back-and-forth motions while holding the brush at a 45-degree angle.

  • Brushing twice a day help in preventing cavities and periodontal problems. When it is above two times (more than three to five minutes at a time) increases the chance of abrasion of the enamel and dentin at a microscopic level. And maybe left unnoticed by the patients.

  • Make note of any undesirable behaviors, such as nail biting, and restrict them as soon as possible.

  • Do not neglect to schedule routine visits with the dentist.

What Are the Treatment Options for Dental Cervical Abrasion?

When the lesion is within the enamel, no treatment is required. Adequate oral hygiene maintenance is sufficient. The other treatment options involve

  • Glass Ionomer Cement: Glass ionomer cement (GIC) is a restorative material used for filling in dentistry. The lifespan is typically long since it chemically adheres to the tooth structure with sufficient strength and is aesthetically appraising. However, it has to be protected from the oral environment in order to prevent contamination and reduce interference with dissolution. GIC increased resistance to demineralization and the continual release of fluoride over an extended period protect the teeth from cavities.

  • Composite Resin Restoration: Composite resin fillings are considered to be the best treatment option for cervical abrasion. Where the composite is made up of plastic and a fine glass of distinct materials. As resin closely resembles the appearance of natural teeth and is superiorly esthetic. A composite restoration can continue for at least five years, and occasionally even longer. But still, a variety of factors can affect how long a composite filling lifespan like the chewing and biting pressures, bruxism, filling size, and position.

Other Treatments: Recession or other disorders affecting the gums are prevalent issues with dental abrasion. It is essential to initiate periodontal treatment and aesthetic surgery.

What Is the Difference Between Dental Abrasion and Erosion?

Dental abrasion is caused by excessive force or constant contact from harsh brushes, whereas erosion is the consequence of a chemical wear process. Additionally, excessive use of acidic or sweetened foods and beverages, as well as the use of specific medications, can damage the enamel of teeth. On the other hand, abfraction is a symptom that frequently co-occurs with tooth abrasion which describes wear-related damage to the tooth's structure. This wedge-shaped notch on the gumline that exposes the tooth's root may potentially cause additional issues, such as sensitivity unless the inner portion of the tooth is left exposed.


Abrasion-related cervical loss may result in symptoms and effects including greater tooth sensitivity, increased plaque trapping that will cause periodontal disease and cavities, a decreased ability to use dental appliances like retainers and dentures, and eventually, it may be unattractive or aesthetically compromised. Hence these conditions can be treated with appropriate dental cement. According to studies resin-modified glass ionomer (RMGI), repair material is recommended in clinical settings since it functions well - provided aesthetics are not the priority when healing these lesions.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Is Dental Abrasion Treated?

The treatment options for dental abrasion are:
- Fillings to relieve tooth sensitivity.
- Mouthguard to prevent grinding of teeth in the night.
- Toothpaste to cure tooth sensitivity and abrasion.
- Orthodontic treatment to realign the bite, which helps to prevent future damage, especially in younger people.


Can Dental Abrasion Be Fixed?

Dental abrasions can be fixed using bonding procedures or tooth restorations with composites or tooth-colored filling materials. The dentist will fill the groove formed where the tooth meets the gum by using a porcelain filling. This filling will cover up the pocket and keep bacteria and food debris from entering it. There is no need for any crown or bridges.


What Is an Abrasion in the Field of Dentistry?

Abrasion is the wear or loss of a tooth structure that occurs due to a constant frictional mechanical process from a foreign element, usually near the neck of the tooth, known as cervical abrasion.


How Does Tooth Abrasion Look Like?

Abrasion usually looks like a wedge or V-shaped indentation of the tooth at the cervical margin, caused by excessive lateral pressure while toothbrushing. The surface is shiny rather than carious, and sometimes the ridge is intense that even the pulp chamber is seen.


How Long Will It Take For the Mouth to Heal After a Filling?

Most fillings heal quickly without any problem. After the filling, the tooth may feel a little sensitive, but this usually goes away in a day or two. Sensitivity from a tooth filling must go away within two to four weeks. But if it does not go away or lasts for longer than four weeks, do not delay contacting your dentist.


Will There Be a Pain in Surface Fillings?

It is common to have pain or sensitivity after a filling. It is where the dentist will poke around and do drilling in the tooth. Usually, any discomfort will fade after a day or two.


Can the Teeth Heal On Their Own From Cavities?

Yes, in some cavities under ideal oral circumstances, when the saliva contains proper pH, minerals like calcium and phosphorus come in contact with the teeth, there will be an exchange of minerals, and these minerals then bond with the enamel repair deficiencies.


What Causes Dental Abrasion?

Dental abrasion results from a constant external mechanical action on the teeth, removing the enamel from the tooth. This also occurs when acids in food or from the stomach dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth.


Why Is Tooth Abrasion Common in Older People?

Tooth abrasion in older adults is most commonly seen on the cervical region labially, which can be due to toothbrush abrasion, the denture worn by the older individuals, and the aging factor.


Where Does the Abrasion Develop On a Tooth?

Abrasion develops on the cervical region located in the neck of the tooth, specifically in the cervical third, including the proximal, vestibular, lingual, or palatal surfaces of the teeth.


How Severe Is Tooth Abrasion?

Tooth abrasion is severe because it can cause:
1. Sensitivity.
2. Carious lesion.
3. Aesthetically unpleasant appearance.
4. Arresting the progression of the lesion.
5. Risk of pulpal exposure if the lesion is deep and severe enough.
6. Interfere with the retention of a removable appliance like a denture.
7. The overall integrity of the tooth structure is compromised.


Can Improper Brushing Cause Tooth Abrasion?

Aggressive brushing of teeth using incorrect tooth brushing techniques, abrasive toothpaste, or hard-bristled toothbrushes can give too much pressure by damaging the tooth and gum tissues and bring toothbrush abrasion.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
10 Apr 2023  -  4 min read




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