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Biomed Mater Eng. 2004;14(3):311-21.

An assessment of stress analyses in the theory of abfraction.

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Department of Periodontics and Endodontics, School of Dental Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14214-3008, USA.


Wedged-shaped lesions at the cemento-enamel junction of teeth have been attributed primarily to biomechanical loading forces that cause flexure and failure of enamel and dentin. This theory, termed abfraction, remains controversial. This review examined studies on mechanical properties of enamel and dentin and studies on bite forces and mastication as background information. Abfraction is based principally on a few early finite element analysis and photoelastic models showing stress concentration at the dental cervical area without actually showing enamel and dentin fracture. However, a review of more recent dental stress analyses has been contradictory. Particularly, analyses of the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone, not modeled in previous studies, have shown that those structures may dissipate occlusal loading forces from the cervical areas. In addition, some models may not fully represent intricate dental anatomy and complex occlusal function. Therefore, the key basis of the abfraction theory may be flawed.

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