OBJECTIVE: Previous in vitro studies have described the wear characteristics of specimens in which enamel has been opposed to enamel and dentine opposed to dentine. The aim of this study was to assess the characteristics of wear between specimens in which enamel was opposed to dentine at loads simulating attrition and at pH values simulating different erosive environments. It was hypothesized that enamel would wear more slowly than dentine under all conditions. DESIGN: Opposing enamel and dentine specimens from 57 human third molar teeth were worn in electromechanical machines with various loads (32, 62 and 100 N) and lubricants (pH 1.2, 3.0 and 6.1). Tooth wear was quantified by measuring reduction in dentine volume over time using a 3D profilometer. Qualitative assessment was also carried out using scanning electron microscopy. RESULTS: Dentine wear increased with increasing load, and dentine wear was faster at pH 1.2 than at pH 3.0 or 6.1 for all loads tested. Interestingly, enamel wore more rapidly than dentine at pH 1.2 under all loads. At pH values of 3.0 and 6.1, enamel wear rates were not measurably different from zero and they were less than wear rates for opposing dentine specimens at all loads. Micrographic assessment showed extensive surface destruction of dentine wear facets due to erosion at pH 1.2. Dentine wear facets were smoother at pH 3.0 that at pH 6.1. CONCLUSIONS: When enamel wears against dentine in an acidic environment enamel will wear more rapidly at very low pH, while under less acid conditions dentine will wear faster than enamel.