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Monogr Oral Sci. 2014;25:1-15. doi: 10.1159/000360380. Epub 2014 Jun 26.

Erosive tooth wear: a multifactorial condition of growing concern and increasing knowledge.

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Department of Preventive, Restorative and Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dental Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.


Dental erosion is often described solely as a surface phenomenon, unlike caries where it has been established that the destructive effects involve both the surface and the subsurface region. However, besides removal of the surface, erosion shows dissolution of mineral within the softened layer - beneath the surface. In order to distinguish this process from the carious process it is now called 'near surface demineralization'. Erosion occurs in low pH, but there is no fixed critical pH value concerning dental erosion. The critical pH value for enamel concerning caries (pH 5.5-5.7) has to be calculated from calcium and phosphate concentrations of plaque fluid. In the context of dental erosion, the critical pH value is calculated from the calcium and phosphate concentrations in the erosive solution itself. Thus, critical pH for enamel with regard to erosion will vary according to the erosive solution. Erosive tooth wear is becoming increasingly significant in the management of the long-term health of the dentition. What is considered as an acceptable amount of wear is dependent on the anticipated lifespan of the dentition and is, therefore, different for deciduous compared to permanent teeth. However, erosive damage to the teeth may compromise the patient's dentition for their entire lifetime and may require repeated and increasingly complex and expensive restorations. Therefore, it is important that diagnosis of the tooth wear process in children and adults is made early and that adequate preventive measures are undertaken. These measures can only be initiated when the risk factors are known and interactions between them are present.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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