Home > 4 Reasons to Stop Grinding Your Teeth > Abfraction and Receding  Gums

How to Prevent Abfraction & Receding Gum Line


Abfraction is a common tooth problem that is often overlooked. This defect is best described as a notch or groove in the tooth (or teeth) near the gum line.  

It is not a cavity and does not always need treatment.  

These areas are most often a darker color than enamel and can be yellow or even brown.

Learn how to prevent this type of tooth damage here.

These grooves feel like little indentions with a sharp edge and can be sensitive to cold or touch.  They can be shallow or deep.

This pictures shows severe abfraction on the lower tooth and moderate abfraction on the tooth above it.  Notice the defect near the gum?  

Those with a receding gum line, are more likely to have this condition.


Because of the slow progression and multiple contributing factors, the causes are complicated.  

The causes have one thing in common, they all put excessive and constant pressure on the tooth near the gum.

  • Clenching and grinding of teeth flexes the teeth near the gum line.  Lateral forces created by clenching and grinding weaken the enamel near your gum line. Any tooth or surface can be affected but abfraction usually occurs on the cheek side of  teeth and is most common on pre-molars and canines.
  • Improper brushing technique such as brushing too hard or using a firm bristled toothbrush can gradually wear the tooth surface away.

Brushing with an abrasive toothpaste can add to the problem. Click here to check the abrasivity of your toothpaste.

This video shows how clenching and grinding damage teeth.

How to Prevent Further Damage?

Once you become aware of this condition it is important to closely monitor it. Not all abfracted teeth have to be treated but should be evaluated by your dentist at each check up.

First, try to determine the cause. Your dentist or hygienist can help you. If you are clenching or grinding your teeth, a teeth grinding guard will help prevent further damage.

If you are brushing too hard, make changes in your brushing technique.

Using an electric toothbrush is a good way to thoroughly clean your teeth without damaging them. Brushing with mouthwash instead of toothpaste once a day cuts down on abrasion to exposed root surfaces.

To help minimize sensitivity: Avoid abrasive toothpastes and use a soft tooth brush. Use fluoride rinse or gel and sensitivity toothpaste.


that is recommended for some teeth with this defect is a tooth colored filling.

A filling not only strengthens the tooth and prevents further damage but improves the appearance as well.

Learn more about treatment options here

Teeth Clenching and  Grinding...

Still Need Some Advice?  Submit Your Question for a Personal Reply

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.