Abfraction or Abfiction

Boles, Stephanie, Donna Bally, and Jennifer Lanivich


To recognize non-carious cervical lesions and abfraction and decide if and when to restore them.


The term abfraction is applied to those non-carious cervical lesions thought to be caused by abrasion and occlusally induced tooth flexure. Abfraction is a theory proposed to explain the development of some v-shaped notches in the tooth. The theory states that as teeth flex under occlusal load, stresses are transmitted to the cervical enamel rods causing them to fracture and dislodge. Overtime with increased flexural movements, a V-shaped notch develops and the tooth becomes weaker as tooth structure is lost and tooth flexure increases. A non-carious cervical lesion is a loss of tooth structure at the CEJ that is unrelated to dental caries. These lesions can affect tooth sensitivity, plaque retention, caries incidence, structural integrity and pulpal vitality. V-shaped or wedgeshaped lesions at the cervical margin are characteristics of recognizing abfractions. Restorations of these lesions depend on tooth sensitivity, esthetic concerns, occlusal factors and plaque retention. Abrasion is the friction between the tooth and an exogenous agent causes wear.


To have defined abfraction and to have classified the characteristics of non-carious cervical lesions and their etiology. To make the dental professional more aware of noncarious cervical lesions and if and when to restore them.