A White Wedding: Dental Advice for Brides-to-Be

« Back to Home

Dental Attrition: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Posted on

The process of tooth wear involves the progressive degradation and loss of the dental structure. This condition refers to any damage to the teeth that does not result from mechanical trauma during accidents and dental cavities. Tooth wear will occur naturally as you age but in cases, the problem is more complicated. The condition is manifested as erosion by chemical dissolution, abrasion caused by the scraping of the tooth surface or attrition. Attrition is a serious problem because the tooth wear is caused by tooth to tooth contact or poor chewing habits. The dental condition will lower your facial aesthetics and even compromise the functionality of your teeth. Here is some basic information on dental attrition to help you understand the condition better.


As mentioned above, dental attrition is primarily caused by contact between your teeth. The main reason for this type of contact is bruxism or teeth grinding. Basically, this condition is an oral para-functional habit which results in clenching of the jawbones and grinding of the teeth. A para-functional habit refers to any activity that causes a person to use a body in an unusual way. Bruxism occurs as an involuntary habit in some people when sleeping, and it can be accelerated by tension and stress. Dental attrition can also be caused by the consumption of fibrous and hard foods which can wear away the dental structure.


It is important for you to recognise the signs and symptoms of dental attrition. This will help you identify the condition early in you and your family and receive timely medical intervention. If your teeth are wearing out, you will notice the anatomical loss of the dental structure. The cusps on the molars will be lost and the edges of the front teeth will become rounder. In some cases, fracturing will also occur and the yellowish dentine tooth layer will be exposed. You will also notice pain and sensitivity because the protective enamel will be weakened. If you have restorations such as veneers or crowns, they might fail or become fractured like the natural teeth.


The ideal treatment for dental attrition will depend on the severity of your condition. Generally, the dentist will deal with associated dental problems such as fractures and sensitivity using cement and desensitising gels. This will ensure that there is no discomfort or pain from the tooth wear. The dentist may also install restorations such as crowns, protective splints and composite restorations to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the teeth.