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J Am Dent Assoc. 2002 Jun;133(6):725-33.

Characteristics of noncarious cervical lesions: a clinical investigation.

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Department of Restorative Dentistry, University of Washington, School of Dentistry, Seattle 98195-7456, USA.



The purpose of the authors' in vivo investigation was to analyze the characteristics of noncarious cervical lesions, or NCCLs, in adult patients who had a high incidence of them.


The patient pool consisted of a total of 57 patients and 171 teeth (three teeth per patient), with one NCCL per tooth. The characteristics the authors evaluated were shape, dimensions, sensitivity, sclerosis and occlusion.


In terms of lesion characteristics, 91 percent of the lesions had axial depths of 1 to 2 millimeters, 49 percent had occlusogingival widths of 1 to 2 mm, 74 percent had an angular shape of 45 to 135 degrees, 76 percent had mild or moderate sclerosis, and 73 percent had no or mild sensitivity. In terms of occlusion, 75 percent of teeth had an Angle Class I occlusion on the involved side, 60 percent had group function or mixed excursive guidance, 82 percent had wear facets, and 99 percent had Type 0 or I mobility. In terms of tooth location, 70 percent of NCCLs were on posterior teeth, 65 percent were on maxillary teeth, and 46 percent were on premolars.


The evaluated NCCLs were found mainly to have small dimensions of depth and width (< 2 mm) and to be roughly right-angled in shape, and many had sclerosis and low sensitivity. A majority of the dentitions studied had Class I occlusion, with group function, prevalent wear facets, and little or no mobility. Cervical lesions were more common with posterior maxillary teeth and premolars, especially first premolars, which had the highest prevalence of lesions. Older patients were more likely to exhibit noncarious cervical lesions, but no great difference in incidence was found between men and women. Clinical Implications. A knowledge of the NCCL characteristics and etiologic covariables aids in proper case selection for treatment, aids in selection of appropriate treatment protocols and improves assessment of prognosis.

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