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The wedge-shaped defect of the tooth. How does it look like and why it appears?

wedge-shaped tooth defect in people

Beautiful and healthy teeth can surely be called the hallmark of a man. However, dental science distinguishes the set of diseases that severely affect the health and appearance of the oral cavity.

For example, the most common is caries, when due to various factors the process of decay of hard dental tissues begins. Tooth decay is the cause of many diseases, with very serious consequences.

However, there is a group of so-called non-carious lesions. The list has relatively little-studied and unpleasant problem – wedge-shaped defect. In recent years, dentists encounter it more often.

What is this disease, what are the main causes and symptoms and how the disease flows? These questions we will try to answer briefly. In addition, we will consider the problem of diagnosing a wedge-shaped defect that as patients may face themselves, so dentists.

Description of the problem

Today, such an unusual name dentists indicate to a failure of dental hard tissues (especially the enamel), which is not associated with the emergence and development of caries.

The disease got its name because of the brightest of its manifestations. The area of the cervix of the tooth, that is the area that is immediately adjacent to the gum, on its outer part, the change of the shape is detected.

In this place, there is a defect that has a wedge shape. Sometimes a V-shape is mentioned. This defect is more reminiscent of a kind of a step between the gum and the rest of the tooth surface.

This phenomenon always occurs only on the outside – the vestibular side. The top of the triangle formed is only directed towards the main body of the tooth (its cavity) and papilla.

Almost always the appearance of a wedge-shaped defect on the teeth occurs symmetrically on both sides of the jaw. This most often affects those teeth that in the process of life experience the greatest load. These include canines and premolars, the so-called premolars.

Also, the front part suffers. Generally, both jaws are involved in the process. However, as shown by the examples available, a defeat in a wedge-shaped defect can spread completely on all the teeth.

The parts of the “triangle” or steps look smooth and shiny. In most cases there is not even a color change. However, this statement is not applied to the clinical cases when the problem is strong and the area is deeply affected, in particular, the dentin.

The appearance of the disease is observed in people of an older age group – the elderly and middle age.

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Flowing and development of the disease

examination by a dentistBefore we talk about the symptoms of the disease, it is necessary to deal with the stages of its development. Exactly from this depend on those of its main symptoms and effects, which deliver certain inconveniences.

Developmental stage

Today, to distinguish between the minimum four basic stages in which expression of a damage vary in the depth of defeat – from 0.1 mm to a half of a centimeter and more when deeper tissues are defeated.

  • The initial or first stage. A wedge-shaped damage is almost impossible to notice, especially since they are not symptomatically manifested at this time.
  • The second stage is called the surface stage. At this stage, there is a small recess depth which can reach up to one tenth of a millimeter.
  • In the third (or medium) stage, the worsening of the disease and the deepening of the existing steps to 0.2-0.3 mm.
  • The fourth stage is a profound defeat. Deepening of a wedge-shaped cavity reaches half a centimeter (or even more) and has an effect on a middle layer of a tooth – dentin, and reaches the pulp chamber.

Development and aggravation of the disease are very slow. Sometimes this process is delayed, even for decades. If an early stage, when with a strong magnifying glass, you can see small cracks or fissures, appears at about 30 years, the last, the fourth, is observed in patients in the retirement age.

As the course of the disease and increase of the defect, the more out layer of the tooth begins to deteriorate the appearance. The fact is that in areas where there is a loss of enamel, dentin substituent begins to form. It has a yellowish tint. Because of this, there are dark yellow stains that are already highly visible on the surface of teeth.


More details should be told about the symptoms of this disease because it is very important for early diagnosis and follow-up treatment.

It is believed that the initial stage of a wedge-shaped defect almost does not manifest itself. However, in many cases, it is likely a sometimes significant change in a tooth sensitivity. The sensitivity is shown as a response to external stimuli warm, cold, sweetness. Even the toothbrush can be attributed to the category of stimuli.

Such reaction practically not always appears over the entire surface of premolars, namely in the area which is called cervical. Initially, this reaction occurs in those places where a small gap appears.

Often a gap cannot be seen in normal, even very careful examination. And it’s not even about the sight. The fact is that in many cases it is located on the lowermost part of the boundary of the coronal and gingival tissue.

In many cases, periodontal diseases are also common. Very often, patients may notice a loss of an enamel only at a certain stage of periodontal disease, when lowered gum tissue and tooth neck is “out” on the surface.

If the early stages of symptoms are still visible, even they are different in their appearance from any manifestations of caries. In contrast to this disease, when there is a wedge-shaped defect the tooth surface is glossy and smooth. There is even an impression of polishing it.

When aggravation of the process and the destructive effect increasing, there is a gradual increase in pain, as a reaction to a variety of stimuli, up till the change of a quality of food from a soft to a hard and tough.

broken toothIf the lesions are moving toward the deep stage at which the tooth pulp is affected, even under the most minimal load on the tooth, it can be lost. One remaining wall simply cannot stand the pressure on it and crown breaks off at the point of the deepest penetration.

Sometimes, even in the deepest fracture, yet there is no penetration into the pulp chamber. This is possible due to the dentin substitute, which closes the chamber and prevents it from breaking.

In this case, the opposite effect can be observed associated with sensitivity – a normal response to many external stimuli can be dull or absent altogether.

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Dependence of symptoms on terminology

In various sources, especially if we have in mind the foreign literature, you can find completely different names to the same problem.

  • cervical effect of a non-caries nature;
  • a defect in the cervical area of a tooth that has not elaborated etiology;
  • erosion of the cervical area;
  • abrasion of solid tooth tissue of the cervix;
  • the wearing out a tooth enamel having an abrasive character in the neck;
  • abrasion or abfraction of an area;
  • depletion-fraction;
  • stress corrosion or corrosion-abfraction.

This is not a complete list of names which usually reflect a different pathogenesis of this disease. This fully demonstrates that the problem is quite ambiguous. Also, different scientists do not have the same opinion about the causes and factors contributing to the development of the disease.

Causes of occurrence

As already was mentioned, not only dentists but researchers are not able in each case to name the reasons of occurrence of a wedge-shaped defect.

At the moment, there are several theories to determine the causes that were received among expert dentists the highest recognition.

Chemical or a theory of erosion

According to those who support this theory, the main factor contributing to the appearance of the lesion is an aggressive environment in the oral cavity. Too much acidity affects it, because of the commonly used carbonated beverages and some foods.

Sometimes the causes of an acidic environment are different pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, in which part of the stomach contents can be thrown into the oral cavity.

The mechanical theory – abrasion

active teeth cleaningAccording to this theory, such tooth loss is due to a systematic and strong expression of mechanical impact on certain areas of the tooth. For example, such a factor may be an aggressive and too stiff brush.

This theory has been widely recognized, as was noticed the dependence of the development of the disease on a right- or left-handedness. Accordingly, the right-handers suffer more from the left side, while the left-handed – vice versa.

Physical and mechanical theory – the load

The main reason for this theory is a change of the load on the teeth and its improper distribution due to various pathologies of occlusion. When there is a change to a certain extent incorrect dentition the mechanism of the process of chewing food is broken.

In such cases, some of the parts of the jaw have much greater load than the adjacent parts. And on each tooth, experiencing a lot of stress, the most dangerous zone is cervical.

Based on the fact that the initial stages are almost invisible to the patient, you need to carefully monitor any changes in the condition of your teeth, to keep their health and beauty.

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