The concept of abfraction is controversial. The authors present the fundamental basis of abfraction and review studies that describe the condition.
TYPES OF STUDIES REVIEWED:
The authors used data on masticatory forces, enamel and dentin properties, as well as stress studies related to abfraction, for background information. They also analyzed the genesis of the abfraction theory, experimental evidence, case presentations, clinical investigations and restorative studies.
The theory of abfraction is based primarily on engineering analyses that demonstrate theoretical stress concentration at the cervical areas of teeth. While some recent stress studies support earlier findings, others have provided significant deviating information. Few controlled studies exist that demonstrate the relationship between occlusal loading and abfraction lesions. The role of occlusal loading in noncarious cervical lesions (as shown by clinical data) appears to be part of a multifactorial event that may not necessarily follow the proposed classic abfraction mechanism, and other mechanisms or factors may explain cervical restoration failure just as well.
There is little direct evidence supporting the theory of abfraction as the primary factor in the formation of noncarious cervical lesions. Controlled clinical trials are necessary to elucidate more fully the etiology of those lesions.