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Br Dent J. 2012 Sep;213(6):E10. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2012.840.

The signs and symptoms of tooth wear in a referred group of patients.

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Department of Clinical Dental Sciences, UK.



To determine the prevalence of signs and symptoms in a group of tooth wear patients referred to a hospital-based consultant clinic.


The clinical records of 290 patients referred to the Liverpool University Dental Hospital for tooth wear were reviewed retrospectively. A systematic sampling technique was used to select every alternate patient held on the consultant database.


There were significantly more males than females in a ratio of 2.3:1. Significantly more males (56%) presented with severe tooth wear compared with females (31%) (p <0.001). Aesthetic concerns were the most prevalent presenting complaint (59%) and sensitivity was the second most common presenting complaint (40%). Functional problems and pain were less prevalent at 17% and 14% respectively. Subjects who had lost posterior support had more severe wear and more worn anterior teeth, which was statistically significant (p = 0.001). The proportion of subjects with undiagnosed apical pathology on worn teeth was 13%.


Tooth wear predominated in males in this study. Patient dissatisfaction with appearance is the most common complaint and endodontic signs and symptoms are low in prevalence. Contrary to previous studies, lack of posterior support resulted in greater severity of wear, therefore restoring support is recommended.

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