You finished your cold beverage and are left with just the ice. You start crunching away on the cold cubes when all of a sudden, CRACK! That little piece you just chomped on isn’t ice, it is a piece of chipped tooth!
A chipped tooth is common for adults and children. It’s actually quite easy to chip a tooth despite the fact that enamel is the hardest, most mineralised tissue of the body. Besides from biting on something hard or falling and hitting your mouth at the right angle, dental conditions like tooth decay or night teeth grinding can also cause a tooth to chip. If you have recently chipped tooth, it’s important to know about potential problems from a chipped tooth.
What You Need to Know
What Happens if You Don’t Repair a the Tooth?
A little chip on a tooth may not seem like a big deal, especially if it is a molar that no one can see. Smaller chips are usually not problematic unless they are sharp, then they could possibly cut your mouth. However, if your chip is significant enough, it could lead to more serious problems such as pain, hot/cold sensitivity, bad breath, swollen glands, and even infected roots.
- Sharp edges can cut your cheek, tongue, and gums
- Deep chips can impact the root of the tooth, leading to potential infections or tooth aches
- Deep chips can cause tooth decay resulting in sensitivity and bad breath
- Chips of all sizes can grow bigger and cause larger issues resulting in the need for root canals or extractions
When do you need to repair the tooth?
You should always visit the dentist when you chip a tooth. For minor chips, you typically won’t need a major repair. More often than not, the dentist can just file the chipped tooth or fill it with a dermal bond so it looks normal again. However, more significant cracks can require more extensive dental work.
If a chip is significant enough, it can damage the pulp that is inside the tooth. The dental pulp is the center of your tooth, made up of living tissue, blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue.
Damage to the pulp can be extremely painful and, if untreated, can become infected. If this happens, you could be in for more extensive dental work.
How Does Your Dentist Fix a Damaged Tooth?
For minor chips, the dentist may only need to smooth the rough edges or fill with a dermal filling that matches your tooth. Severe chips that do not damage the root or pulp may require a cap or crown to protect the tooth from future infections. In situations where the pulp or root is damaged, you may first need a root canal before a crown or cap is placed over the tooth.
How to Prevent a Chipping?
Maintaining good oral hygiene is the first step in preventing a chipped tooth. Making sure you have no cavities or tooth decay can help keep your tooth enamel strong.
Your dentist can also help fit you for a mouthguard if you play sports. Athletes are prone to injury, especially in the face. Protective gear can help save teeth from sustaining injury.
If you have nervous habits like biting your nails or chewing on your pen cap, you may want to switch to something a little less prone to accidents, like squeezing a stress ball.
Finally, you should try to avoid hard candies and chewing ice. We understand a hard candy here and there is a nice treat. If you cannot resist the sweet tooth, avoid the temptation to bite and break the candy.
Sometimes it is not easy to prevent chipping a tooth. However, with good oral hygiene, making a few changes to your nervous habits, and even diet, you can help keep your teeth strong and chip-free.
If you have a chipped tooth and need an evaluation of the damage, our team at Smiles Unlimited will gladly evaluate your tooth and recommend treatment options.