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.