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Abfraction

Abfraction is the loss of tooth structure from flexural forces. This has not been supported yet by dental research but it is hypothesized that enamel, especially at the cementoenamel junction (CEJ), undergo this pattern of destruction by separating the enamel rods.

As teeth flex under pressure, the arrangement of teeth touching each other, known as occlusion, causes tension on one side of the tooth and compression on the other side of the tooth. This is believed to cause V-shaped depressions on the side under tension and C-shaped depressions on the side under compression.

This theory does not fully satisfy many researchers because there are many teeth whose occlusion causes tension and compression on either side. Consequently, it would be expected that many more teeth would show signs of abfraction, but this is not the case. Research is ongoing to identify the role abfraction has on this pattern of tooth destruction.