It happens! You are merrily crunching on a hard piece of candy, ice, or take a bite out of a fresh, crusty baguette when you start to feel something in your mouth that you can’t chew, won’t dissolve or melt. A Newport Beach dentist can recall hearing many patients explain when they started to realize that it wasn’t food but a piece of a broken tooth.
Even though the enamel that surrounds teeth is the most durable and most mineralized tissue in the body, it does have a breaking point. The Newport Beach dentist tells us that when we fall, get hit in the face, or bite down on something hard (especially if a tooth is already showing signs of decay) it can result in a tooth chipping or breaking.
What Problems Could You Have With A Chipped Tooth?
If you have a slight chip on a tooth, it won’t feel like the end of the world, particularly if it is a molar hiding in the back of your mouth.
Smaller chips do not usually cause any problems unless they have a pointy edge, then they might end up cutting the inside of your mouth.
Nevertheless, if your chipped tooth is severe enough, it could result in more serious issues such as pain, hot/cold sensitivity, bad breath, swollen glands, and even infected roots. Here are some of the more serious issues that someone could experience as a result of a chipped tooth:
- Razor-sharp edges can slice up the insides of your cheeks, tongue, and gums.
- Deep chips can affect the root of the tooth, resulting in possible infections or toothaches.
- Deep chips can lead to tooth decay which brings about sensitivity and bad breath.
- No matter what size the chip starts out as it can grow bigger and result in bigger problems that will require root canals or extractions.
When Should You Repair A Chipped Tooth?
Do your best to visit a Newport Beach dentist as soon as you chip your tooth. For small chips, you usually won’t need a massive repair. As a general rule, your dentist can file the chipped tooth or fill it in with a dermal bond so it appears normal again. On the other hand, bigger cracks will need considerable dental work.
If your chipped tooth is big enough, it can damage the pulp that is inside the tooth. The dental pulp is the center of the tooth and is made up of living tissue, blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue.
When there is damage to the pulp, it can be extremely painful and, if left untreated, the tooth can become infected. If this occurs, you could be heading towards more extensive dental work. Ouch!
How To Take Care Of Your Chipped Tooth?
As mentioned above, if you chip, break, or fracture your tooth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. If you don’t, your tooth could be damaged more or become infected, possibly resulting in losing the tooth itself.
While you are waiting for your dentist’s appointment, you can try these self-care measures in the meantime:
- If you are experiencing a toothache, take acetaminophen or another over-the-counter pain reliever. Wash your mouth out with salt water to fight against and prevent any infections.
- If the break has created a sharp or rugged edge, cover it with a piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to prevent it from cutting your tongue, the inside of your cheek or your lip.
- If you are starving, stick to eating soft foods and try not to bite down on the broken tooth.
Your dentist will approach the treatment of a broken or chipped tooth differently, depending on the severity of tooth damage. If just a bit of enamel broke off, the repair can normally be completed in one dental appointment. A seriously damaged or broken tooth may need more time.
How Does A Newport Beach Dentist Fix A Chip Tooth?
For small chips, your dentist may only have to smooth the rough edges or fill the chip with a dermal filling that matches the color of your tooth. If the repair involves the front tooth or can be seen when you smile, your dentist will probably use a procedure called bonding, which uses a tooth-colored composite resin.
Major chips that do not damage the root or pulp may need a cap or crown to protect the tooth from future infections. This is meant to protect the tooth and improve its appearance. Typically, permanent crowns are made from metal, porcelain fused to metal, all resin, or all ceramic.
Various types of crowns have different advantages. All-metal crowns are the strongest while porcelain and resin crowns can be made to look almost the same to the original tooth.
In cases where the pulp or root is damaged, you may initially require a root canal before a crown or cap is put over the tooth.
How To Avoid A Chipped Tooth?
The first step is to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent a chipped tooth. Do your best to avoid cavities or tooth decay in order to help maintain strong tooth enamel.
Additionally, your dentists can fit you with a mouthguard if you play sports. Normally, athletes are more prone to face/mouth injuries. Furthermore, protective gear can help save teeth from damage.
If you bite your nails or chew on your pens or pencils, you may want to replace the habit with something that is a little less likely to cause mishaps, such as squeezing a stress ball or using worry beads.
Ultimately, you should do your best, even if you have a sweet tooth, to avoid chewing hard candies. The same goes for chewing on hard ice, or hard food in general. It is understandable that everybody wants to have a sweet treat, cool their mouths down with ice, or munch on a crusty piece of bread every now and again. So if you do, try your best not to bite down too hard.
It is not always easy to prevent chipping a tooth. Nevertheless, if you practice good oral hygiene, make a few changes to your nervous habits, and perhaps even your diet, you can do your best to maintain strong teeth that are chip-free.