top of page

Dental Attrition

Do you grind your teeth?

Dental attrition is a type of tooth wear caused by tooth-to-tooth contact, resulting in loss of tooth structure, usually starting at the incisal or occlusal surfaces. Tooth wear usually increases with age.

Dental Attrition is the progressive loss of tooth structure caused by mastication or grinding between opposing teeth. The extent of attrition will depend upon the use to which an individual puts their teeth. People will often grind their teeth more when stressed at work or very busy in life in general. A lot of people will grind their teeth at night, unknown to themselves.

In severe cases of attrition, the protective layer of enamel, can become worn to the point that dentine is exposed, leading to tooth decay and increased dental sensitivity.

Dental attrition can also be linked with TMJ discorders.

Often patients will be unaware they grind their teeth and just notice that their teeth are becoming flatter and uneven. At this stage, patients will usually complain that their teeth look “worn, short and uneven in length”.

Signs and Symptoms

Loss of tooth structure including a flattening or thinning of the teeth

Damage or failure of prior dental restorations

Increased dental pain/sensitivity due to loss of the enamel

Sore or irriatated gums

Tooth discoloration as a result of loss of enamel and exposure of the dentine layer

Shortened or uneven anterior teeth

Sometimes, patients will be unaware they grind their teeth until the dentist identifies the signs.


There are many treatment options to help prevent against dental attrition including :

Occlusal splint (night guard) to wear at night to protect the teeth.

Composite (filling material) build ups for aesthetics and function.

Crowns are sometimes required to protect the worn teeth against further wear.

Orthodontic treatment to align their bite.

Treatment of dental attrition can vary depending on signs and symptoms so we advise to discuss with the dentists at Blackrock Clinic Dentistry.


bottom of page