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Dental Erosion and Medical Conditions: An Overview of Aetiology, Diagnosis and Management

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Tooth wear or tooth surface loss is a normal physiological process and occurs throughout life but is considered pathological when the degree of destruction is excessive or the rate of loss is rapid, causing functional, aesthetic or sensitivity problems. The importance of tooth wear as a dental problem has been increasingly recognized. The findings of a study in Trinidad indicate that the prevalence of tooth wear in a Trinidadian population is comparable to the United Kingdom (UK) and, indeed, that the level of moderate and severe wear is in fact nearly twice as high. The aetiology of tooth wear is attributed to four causes: erosion, attrition, abrasion and abfraction. Erosion is generally considered to be the most prevalent cause of tooth wear in the UK and Europe. Acids that cause dental erosion originate mainly from the diet or the stomach and to a lesser extent, the environment. Underlying medical problems can contribute to the progress of tooth wear due to erosion and the patient may not be aware of these conditions. Moderate to severe tooth wear poses a significant clinical challenge to dental practitioners and may result in treatment that is more complex and costly to the patient both in terms of finances and time spent in the dental chair. This paper provides an overview of aetiology and diagnosis of tooth wear, in particular tooth wear due to erosion, so that medical and dental practitioners may recognize tooth wear early, institute preventive measures and manage patients appropriately.

30 Jul, 2013
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e-Published: 15 May, 2014
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