Although tooth enamel is considered the strongest substance in the human body, it is still possible for it to chip or crack. Grinding your teeth, eating hard foods, or trauma to the face can all cause your tooth enamel to break or chip. When this happens, it’s essential to take action quickly to prevent further damage such as tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, infection, or permanent tooth loss.
Why Does a Tooth Break?
A tooth can break for a variety of reasons. A common cause is grinding your teeth. Grinding your teeth at night can wear down your tooth enamel over time and make it more susceptible to cracking or chipping. If you think you may be grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard.
Another factor that can cause your tooth enamel to chip or crack is eating hard foods like ice cubes or hard candy. Try to avoid chewing on ice or using your teeth to open objects like bottles. Not only will this help protect your teeth, but it will also be better for your overall health.
Trauma to the face, such as a fall, contact sports injury, or car accident, can also cause your tooth enamel to chip or crack. If you’ve been in an accident, it’s important to see a dentist immediately to assess the damage and determine the best course of action.
Eating acidic foods like citrus fruits or soda can also increase your risk of chipping your teeth as it weakens your tooth enamel, making it more susceptible to chipping or cracking. Try to limit your intake of these types of foods and drink plenty of water to help wash away the acidity.
What Should You Do If You Chipped or Knock-Out Your Tooth
For Chipped or Broken Tooth
If you have chipped your tooth, call your dentist as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. Your dentist can assess the damage and determine the best treatment option. Depending on the severity of the damage, your dentist may recommend a dental filling, temporary crown, or veneer to repair it.
While waiting for your dental appointment, make sure to do the following:
- Rinse your mouth with salt water to clean the area. Salt has antibacterial properties that can help reduce the risk of infection. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help kill any bacteria that may have entered inside.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication to help with any discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce any discomfort you may feel.
- Apply a cold compress. Applying a cold compress to the outside of your mouth can help reduce any swelling and pain you may be experiencing.
- Avoid eating hard foods or anything that could further damage the tooth. Biting down on hard foods can cause the chip to become larger or even break off completely. Try to stick to soft foods until you can see your dentist
- Cover the sharp edges. If the chip is large enough, you should cover the jagged edges with dental wax or sugar-free gum. This can help protect your tongue and gums from rough edges and reduce the risk of further damage.
For a Knocked-Out Tooth
Did you know that a knocked-out tooth can sometimes be re-implanted? The key is to act quickly and get to the dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you get to the dentist, the better your chances of saving the tooth.
When handling a knocked-out tooth, make sure to do the following:
- Collect the tooth but avoid touching the root of the tooth as this can damage it. Pick up the tooth by the crown (the part that is visible in your mouth ) and not the root.
- Gently rinse the tooth with warm water, careful not to scrub or remove any tissue fragments that may still be attached.
- If possible, try to re-insert the tooth into its socket. If you can’t do this, place the tooth in a cup of milk to prevent drying and get to the dentist as soon as possible.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help with any pain or discomfort. If your face is swollen, apply a cold compress to reduce the swelling.
Treatment Options For Chipped or Cracked Tooth
Depending on the severity of the damage, your dentist may recommend one of the following dental procedures:
During the tooth bonding procedure, your dentist will apply a composite resin material to the affected area and shape it to match the contour of your tooth. The resin is then hardened with a special light and polished for a natural-looking finish. Dental bonding is an affordable and minimally invasive cosmetic procedure for repairing minor chips and cracks.
A crown is a cap that fits over the entire tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength. Crowns can be made from porcelain, metal, or both materials. They are used to repair larger chips and cracks and protect weak or damaged teeth from further damage.
Dental veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are bonded to the front of your teeth to improve their appearance. They can be used to repair chips, cracks, discoloration, and even gaps between teeth. Porcelain veneers look like your natural teeth and can last up to 10 years with proper care.
Root Canal Therapy
When a deep chip or crack exposes the pulp chamber, the inner layer of the tooth containing nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues, bacteria may seep in and cause an infection. When this happens, your dentist may recommend root canal procedure to remove the infected tissue and save the tooth. If the damage is severe enough, your dentist may need to perform a tooth extraction and replace it with a dental implant.
Contact Us for Urgent Dental Care
A minor chip or crack is usually not a cause for concern, but it’s essential to get it checked out by a dental professional to be sure. If the damage is more severe and causes tooth pain and discomfort, you may need emergency dental care. Our dental office provides same-day appointments and treatment for broken teeth and other dental emergencies. Contact us today and schedule an appointment!