Enamel Cracks - Abfraction
Staffordshire bullterrier

September 2009
Dr Gerhard Steenkamp

A 4 year-old Staffordshire bullterrier is presented for a routine scale and polish.  While inspecting the oral cavity and teeth you notice the following lesions:

 Enamel Cracks - Abfraction Sept 2009  


a) Describe the lesions present on the 103 and 104.

b) How are these lesions brought about?

c) What behaviour may lead to these lesions?

d) What treatment is indicated?


a) Both the 103 and 104 has horisontally situated cracklines in the enamel.  They have a blue-blackish colour.  The 104 also shows wear with tertiary dentin formation that has a brownish discolouration in the middle of the worn coronal edge.

b) Cracked enamel - If the tooth is exposed to excessive bending forces, the enamel layer which is composed of hydroxyapetite crystals will crack, as the underlying dentin has a tubular structure and is much more elastic. In humans this type of lesion is referred to as abfraction.

Worne 104 – Excessive wear due to tennisbals gathering sand/soil in the felt, or contstant biting or pulling on hard objects.

c) This dog had a motorcar tyre hung from a tree in its garden.  The owner mentioned that the dog will often jump up and grab the tyre with its teeth and then, hang in suspended state for prolonged periods of time.  The weight of the dog is carried mainly by the 4 canines that make contact with the tyre, which causes severe trauma to these teeth.

d) As long as the pulp is not exposed, no specific treatment of these two teeth is indicated.  The owner should be made aware of possible complications like toothfracture if this behaviour is not stopped.


   Back to top     |      Print this page   |     Bookmark this page