To compare the morphology of experimentally induced cervical toothbrush abrasion lesions to teeth demonstrating non-carious cervical lesions in vivo.
Eighteen premolars extracted for orthodontic reasons were each subjected to 80 hours (1.4 million strokes) of horizontal brushing in a custom fabricated toothbrushing machine. Toothpaste slurry was applied continuously and specimens were subjected to 300 gms of toothbrushing force. Denture base resin was used to simulate gingival recession of 1 mm and a sulcus width of 0.1 mm. Cervical abrasions were analyzed by optical and scanning electron microscopy and classified as either V-shape/wedged vs. U-shape/rounded lesions. When lesions exhibited both shapes, they were classified as mixed. Shapes of experimentally induced lesions then were compared to naturally occurring ones found on extracted premolars. RESULTSts: Experimentally induced toothbrush abrasion duplicated the classical clinical shapes. Half (9/18) of the experimentally induced toothbrush abrasions exhibited wedged lesions, 28% (5/18) showed a mixed wedged/rounded lesion, and 22% (4/18) showed rounded lesions. Serial photography showed progression of the morphology of the lesions. Toothbrush abrasion apparently begins apical to the cemento-enamel junction, progresses to dentin, and then undermines enamel with loss of the original cemento-enamel junction. Wedged lesions may appear with the apex oriented coronal or apical, or may be symmetrical.