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Basic Information on Non-Carious Cervical Lesions (NCCLs)

What is it? 

NCCLs are defects on teeth near the gums. The wedge-shaped loss of tooth structure resembles something like the mark that an axe leaves on a tree when chopping it. The lesions can be attributed to a combination of internal stresses on the tooth (from high biting forces, usually associated with grinding or clenching during sleep) and/or external wear forces (from aggressive tooth brushing or regular dietary acidic exposure).

In most cases, NCCLs are asymptomatic or they may become symptomatic occasionally. If left untreated, the lesions will gradually over time (usually years) become more widespread or extend deeper into the teeth.

What treatment do we recommend? 

For the minor or superficial lesions, we recommend managing the symptoms and monitoring only. This usually involves using toothpaste for sensitive teeth to manage sensitivity problems.

For something more than a minor lesion, a bonded filling is recommended. 


Additional notes 

If NCCLs are not monitored regularly, they may become severe lesions with little symptoms and the tooth may require more complex treatment like root canal treatment or possibly an extraction. 

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