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Quintessence Publishing: Journals: IJP
The International Journal of Prosthodontics

Edited by George A. Zarb, BChD, DDS, MS, MS, FRCD(C)

ISSN 0893-2174

Publication:
September/October 1999
Volume 12 , Issue 5

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A Difference in Perspective--The North American and European Interpretations of Tooth Wear

David Bartlett, BDS, PhD, MRD, FDS (Rest), RCS (Eng)/Keith Phillips, DMD, MSD/Bernard Smith, BDS, PhD, MS (Mich), MRD, FDS, RCS (Eng), FDS, RCS (Edin)

Pages: 401-408
PMID: 10709520

Purpose: There is considerable interest in the European dental research literature about the problem of tooth wear and specifically about dental erosion, but this interest does not appear to be matched in North America based on the volume of the literature there. The purpose of this article is to consider the possible explanations for this difference. Materials and Methods: This article examines the reasons for this disparity and attempts to explain the difference by reviewing the North American and European literature on the etiology, pathogenesis, and prevalence of tooth wear. Results: It would appear from the literature that the reason for the difference in interest between the 2 continents is a reflection of how the appearance, etiology, and terminology are interpreted and used to define tooth wear, attrition, and erosion. Conclusion: Attrition is the wear of teeth against teeth; therefore, by definition any worn surface that does not contact the opposing tooth must have another etiology. An appropriate descriptive term is ’tooth wear’ when the etiology is multifactorial or cannot be determined. A search of the literature shows more studies in the European literature of the etiology and prevalence of tooth wear than in the North American literature. The thrust of the European studies supports the view that erosion is more important than attrition in the etiology of tooth wear.

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