What Are The Ugly Notches in My Teeth By My Gums?
In the photos shown you can see areas where the gums have receded showing the roots of the teeth. There are several ‘notches’ present in these root surfaces near the gums and dentists call these types of notches abfractions. Typically, lesions like this are seen in patients with fairly healthy tissue and there may be multiple causes for these lesions.
We (dentists) used to think that lesions like this (abfractions) were the result of excessive tooth brushing, or brushing with a tooth brush that had medium or hard bristles instead of the recommended soft bristles. Later we (dentists) believed that these lesions or abfractions were due to clenching and grinding of the teeth. It is felt that teeth – although very hard – will flex slightly during clenching and grinding movements at the neck of the tooth above the attachment of the tooth to the underlying bone. Now, it is believed that that toothpaste abuse is the real cause of these lesions or abfractions!
Stress in chewing and grinding or clenching your teeth results in compression, flexure, and tension in the teeth. Friction causes wear of the teeth from toothpastes and foods or from empty mouth grinding. Corrosion with chemicals such as the acid from beverages or from one’s own stomach wears the teeth. These three often overlap causing structural damage to the teeth. Biting forces cause flexure of teeth and may add to the structural loss in the cervical or neck area of teeth creating the notches or abfractions. Acid in the diet can then penetrate this weakened area further softening the tooth and making the teeth more susceptible to loss of tooth structure from brushing.
With time, the gingival tissue will recede and the softer root surface becomes exposed. The root may be further weakened by the flexing of the tooth and by brushing the tooth with a toothbrush and toothpaste. More recent studies indicate that excessive force and brushing with almost any type of brush combined with abrasive toothpaste can cause this kind of damage (abfractions) in susceptible individuals. Just about any kind of toothpaste can cause abbrasion of the teeth.
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This information shared with you by Julie Gillis, DDS PC . We feel that your dental health is the top priority, and if we can make your smile more attractive while improving your health that is wonderful! Dr. Gillis practices restorative and cosmetic dentistry including porcelain veneers, tooth whitening, implants, crowns, bridges and periodontal care. Our office website is www.juliegillisds.com. For further information, please contact us at (970) 242-3635. Tooth bleaching is one of the things we do that is actually fun!
Yours for better health,
“Restoring Smiles – Restoring Health”