Toothwear is one of the commonly occurring regressive changes seen and is considered as a natural phenomenon, especially of opposing tooth surfaces. It is physiological under normal conditions; however it is pathologic under certain circumstances when the wearing of tooth is excessive. The examples of tooth wear are attrition, abrasion, erosion, abfraction.
The tooth wear is seen in all age groups, but it has been suggested that severity increases with age suggesting it to be an age related phenomenon. It is probably more in males and more sever in Negerians.According to reports it has been suggested that attrition and abrasion predominates in older age groups, while erosion is the likelihood cause in younger age groups. Other studies, however report the erosion to occur in both old and younger age groups.
Recent studies have reported a higher incidence of erosion in asthamatics.It is because thirsty asthmatics consume soft drinks in greater amounts. The acidity of medication taken is less than 5.5 and that patients with asthma may suffer from GERD.
Tooth wear has multifactorial etiology involving the interplay of attrition, abrasion and erosion. These processes seldom occur singly rather these overlap and coexist together.
Various factors that may influence these processes include functional or parafunctional habits, pattern of mandibular movements, biteforce, saliva, diet, medication, diseases, occupational and habitual environment and geographic location.
During the process of tooth wear between the occlusal surfaces of opposing teeth, other phenomenon occurs that promote further tooth wear e.g. fatigue wears could occur due to propagation of enamel cracks, thereby resulting in the loss of enamel. This fatigue wear would also results in irregular or rough enamel surfaces which further may potentiate attrition or tooth wear and convert 2bodied attrition into a 3bodied abrasion system. Tooth wear has been found to be useful in age estimation since the tooth development follow a typical chronological pattern that fully formed teeth show ageing changes.Thus,the teeth can act as biological markers of ageing, especially to estimate the age for forensic and anthropology studies.
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