Chipped Teeth Chipped Teeth
Chipped Teeth

Chipped Teeth

The enamel, which is the tough outer covering protecting your teeth is one of the strongest substances in the body. A chipped tooth has a rough, sharp, or disfigured surface. It has its limitations though, and excessive wear and tear or a forceful blow can make your teeth to chip.

This leads to a jagged tooth surface, which can be disfiguring, tender, and sharp.

Causes of chipped teeth

There are many reasons teeth can chip, and the common causes are:

  • Chewing on or biting hard substances like hard candy or ice
  • Car accidents or calls
  • Engaging in contact sports without a mouthguard
  • Grinding your teeth while sleeping

Risk factors for chipped teeth

Weakened teeth are more prone to chipping than strong teeth; some factors that reduce the strength of a tooth are:

  • Grinding the teeth which wear down the enamel
  • Tooth decay and cavities destroy the enamel, and large fillings also weaken the teeth
  • Heartburn or acid reflux can bring up stomach acid into your mouth; this can destroy your enamel when it comes in contact with your teeth
  • Eating acidic foods like coffee, fruit juices, and spicy foods can destroy the enamel and expose the surface of the teeth.
  • Excessive intake of alcohol and eating disorders also induce frequent vomiting; this damages your enamel as the vomitus comes in contact with the teeth
  • High intake of sugars, sugary foods and drinks can produce bacteria in your mouth; these bacteria will destroy the enamel in turn.
  • Over time, as you advance in age, your enamel can wear down, and your risks of weak enamel increase as you pass the age of 50.

What teeth are at risk?

In general, a weakened tooth is at risk of chipped tooth. However, the second lower molar is more prone to chipping because of the pressure put on it while chewing.

Teeth with fillings are also prone to chipping and finally intact teeth are also prone to chipping.

Symptoms of a chipped tooth

You might not know you have chipped teeth if the chip is not at the front of the mouth and if it is minor, however, when you have symptoms, you will notice the following:

  • The gum around the chipped tooth will be irritated
  • You will feel a jagged surface when you run your tongue over your teeth
  • Your tongue can become irritated when you run it over the rough and uneven edge of your tooth
  • You will feel the pain caused by the pressure placed on the tooth when you bite. This pain can be intense if the chip exposes the nerves in the tooth or if it is too close to the nerves of the tooth.

Diagnosing a chipped tooth

A dentist can diagnose chipped tooth by visibly inspecting your mouth. He/she will also ask you about your symptoms and events that might have caused the chipping.

Treatment options for a chipped tooth

The treatment for chipped tooth depends on the symptoms, severity, and location. It is not treated as a medical emergency if it is not causing you severe pain and interfering with your normal activities like eating and sleeping.

You have to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth. A dentist will treat a minor chip by smoothing and polishing the tooth.

For more severe and extensive chip, your doctor will recommend the following:

  • Tooth reattachment

If your tooth breaks and you still have the fragment, keep it in a glass of milk to keep it moist, and the calcium present in the milk will still help to preserve it.

If you don’t have milk, tuck it into your gum and be careful not to swallow it. Go to a dentist immediately, and they can cement the fragment back onto your main tooth.

  • Bonding

In this treatment method, a plastic material (composite resin) or porcelain (layers of ceramic) is plastered on the surface of your tooth and moulded to its form.

Ultraviolet lights are used to dry the materials and harden it. More shaping is done after drying until the material fits your tooth exactly.

This bonding can last up to ten years.

  • Porcelain veneer

The dentist will smooth away some of your tooth enamel; this will make room for the veneer before it is attached. They will shave off less than a millimetre.

Then your dentist will make an impression of your tooth and send it to lab for the creation of the veneer. However, a temporary veneer will be used in the meantime until when the permanent veneer is ready.

When it is ready, the dentist will bond it to your tooth. This veneer can last up to 30 years because it is durable.

  • Dental Onlays

If only a part of your tooth is affected by the chip, the dentist will suggest a dental onlay. This is applied to the surface of the molars, and a full dental crown is recommended if the damage done to the tooth is significant.

Anaesthesia would be given to you so that the dentist can work on your teeth properly and give room for an onlay. In most cases, the dentist takes a mould of your tooth and sends it to a dental lab for the creation of the onlay.

Once the onlay is created, it would be fitted on your tooth and then cemented to make it strong. There is an advance in technology now, and some dentists can mill porcelain onlay right in their office and place them on your tooth in that same day.

These onlays can last for decades, but how long it lasts depends on a lot of factors like the type of foods you eat because this will create wear and tear on the onlay.

It also depends on what tooth was affected; the molars wear easily because lots of pressure is placed on them when chewing.

Costs of treating a chipped tooth

The cost of treating chipped tooth varies, and it depends on factors like the country you live in, the tooth involved, the extent of the damage or chip, and whether the pulp of the tooth is affected.

Self-care for a chipped tooth

You will definitely need a dentist to treat your chipped teeth, but there are some things you can do to reduce the damage to the tooth until you see a doctor.

  • Place a sugar-free gum, a teabag, a dental wax, or a temporary dental filling over the edge of the chipped tooth to protect your gums and teeth.
  • Take a painkiller like ibuprofen to kill the pain
  • If the chipped tooth is making the area inflamed, place an ice on the outside of the cheek.
  • Floss to remove the particles of food caught in between the teeth because this can create more pressure when you chew foods.
  • Do not chew foods with the chipped teeth
  • Rub clove oil around the painful gum, and this will numb the area
  • Wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth when you are playing sports, and you can also wear it at night when you want to sleep if you grind your teeth.

Complications of a chipped tooth

If the chip is extensive, it can affect the root of the tooth and infection can set in. A root canal is usually used to treat this condition.

Some symptoms of the infection are:

  • Swollen glands in your neck and jaw
  • Pain when eating foods
  • Sour taste or bad breath in your mouth
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold
  • High temperature

A chipped tooth is a very common dental injury, and it does not produce significant pain in most cases. A chipped tooth can be treated using a wide variety of dental procedures.

You have to get treatment immediately if you have a chipped tooth. Although it is not a dental emergency, early treatment will prevent infections and also prevent the case from getting worse.

You will recover faster when the dental procedure is complete.

At Smile Works Dental, we handle several kinds of dental problems including chipped teeth. If you have a chipped tooth or any other dental problem, reach out to us on 020 71834091 to book an appointment.

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