A chipped tooth occurs when some outside force causes the enamel of the tooth, the tough outer covering of your teeth, to break. The result is a jagged tooth surface that is sharp, sensitive, not aesthetically pleasing. The most common causes of chipped teeth include, biting down on hard substances like candy or ice, falls or car accidents, injuries from contact sports, and teeth grinding.
Do I Need To Repair My Chipped Tooth?
If the chip is small and not sharp you usually do not need to repair it, unless you’d like to for aesthetics purpose. However, even if you don’t repair your chipped tooth it should be checked regularly when you get your dental cleanings to make sure it has not grown bigger or started to cause issues.
If the chip is medium to large it could cause serious problems down the line if you do not repair it. Untreated dental issues stemming from a chipped tooth could eventually result in the need for a root canal or an extraction.
Significant chips can cause the following problems:
- Repeated cuts on your cheek, tongue, and gums
- Tooth aches
- Tooth decay
- Tooth sensitivity
- Bad breath
How Will The Dentist Fix My Chipped Tooth?
For small chips, the dentist may only need to smooth the rough edges of the chipped tooth or they may fill the chipped part of the tooth with a dental filling that matches the color of your tooth.
For medium to large chips, your tooth may require a cap or crown to restore the strength of the tooth and protect it from future infections.
Sometimes, the chipping of the tooth may have damaged the pulp or root. In these situations, a root canal will be performed. After the root canal a cap or crown will be placed to restore the strength of the tooth and protect it from future infections.
How To Prevent A Chipped Tooth
Good Oral Hygiene
Chipped teeth happen more often in patients that have lots of cavities, tooth decay, and weakened enamel. Making sure you keep your mouth healthy with proper brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent chipped teeth.
Wearing A Mouthguard
If you play sports, especially contact sports, it is important for you to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from chipping. Teeth can easily be damaged by sports collisions; however, simply wearing a mouthguard can prevent these issues from occurring.
Don’t Chew Hard Candies & Ice
Despite how satisfying it can be to chew ice and hard candies, these types of food items were made to melt in your mouth, or drink, and soften before they are chewed. It may be difficult, but it’s best for your oral health to resist the temptation to chew ice and hard candies.
Break Chewing Habits
Lots of people have bad habits such as biting their nails or chewing on their pencil or pen. You may think this isn’t a dangerous practice because you’ve never damaged your teeth doing it before. However, these habits can damage your teeth overtime and one wrong bite could cause your tooth to become chipped. Avoid these bad habits and opt for something that doesn’t jeopardize your oral health, such as squeezing a stress ball.
Don’t Use Your Teeth To Open Things
Maybe it’s an instinct left over from our caveman days, but many of us will still use our teeth to open a stubborn object rather than taking a moment to go get scissors. Using your teeth to open item puts unneeded pressure on them and may cause them to get chipped or damaged. Next time you feel the need to use your teeth to open something, opt for the scissors instead.
It’s pretty easy to avoid chipping your tooth with proper care and avoiding dangerous situations; however, it’s easier said than done and things always end up happening. If you do chip you’re tooth, don’t fret. Our expert dentists, endodontists, and oral surgeons are here to help you fix your chipped tooth and restore it’s strength and functionality. If you need help with a chipped tooth give us a call at 703-822-5583 or fill out our contact form.