What is attrition?
- The wearing away of a tooth as a result of tooth-to-tooth contact
What causes attrition?
- Malocclusions or “bad bites” which cause teeth to rub against other teeth
- In Boxers the maxillary incisors usually rub on the inner surface of the mandibular canines or incisors
Is attrition the only cause of tooth wear?
- Tooth abrasion is the pathologic wearing away of the tooth by rubbing
- Aggressive tooth brushing, bruxism (grinding teeth), excessive gnawing on fur, tennis balls and kennel doors can cause tooth abrasion
- Tooth fracture is the forceful breaking of a tooth as a result of trauma
- Hard objects and head injury usually cause tooth fractures.
- Tooth erosion is the loss of tooth surface caused by chemical action
- Excessive vomiting or home made diets high in acids can cause tooth erosion
What effect does attrition have?
- Slow attrition causes the teeth to become shorter, have sharp edges and turn dark in color.
- Constant pressure may cause the pulp to become inflamed and kill the tooth.
- Rapid attrition causes pulp exposure, pulp infection and abscessed teeth.
How is it diagnosed?
- Step 1: Know that all pure bred Boxers are “designed” to have a malocclusion. Attrition is a built-in certainty that comes with the breed.
- Step 2: Take dental radiographs to confirm that the teeth are still alive and healthy inside.
How is it treated?
- If diagnosed early, inflamed pulp can be prevented by selective extraction of the teeth that are causing the trauma.
- If diagnosed late, any teeth that are infected should have root canal therapy or be surgically extracted.
- The worn teeth may also be sealed or restored with tooth colored fillings and metal crowns depending on how deep the attrition goes.
Maxillary incisors on mandibular canines