A chipped or broken tooth can result from cavities, injury to the face or it can result from trying to chew something very hard. A chipped tooth may not cause any pain unless the chipped piece is large enough to expose the nerves at the base of the tooth. Now the outer layer of the teeth, the enamel, is one of the hardest substances in the body. But even its strength can fail as it gets stressed. In many cases, poor dietary habits and excessive consumption of fruit juice, spicy foods, coffee, sweets, and sour foods can also cause tooth chipping.
In reality, individuals above 50 years of age have a higher chance of getting a chipped tooth. A cracked tooth is a very common form of injury and in case of a deep crack, the tooth can get infected. Quite a few times, chipping happens due to tooth decay and cavities or due to poor oral hygiene. Also, the infection can spread to the soft tissue at the base of the tooth, infecting the nerves, blood vessels and also the supporting bone.
In some cases, patients who are prone to grinding or clenching the teeth during the night can also get a chipped tooth. The teeth play an important role while chewing and a broken tooth can lead to the uneven distribution of the biting forces. This can damage the other teeth as a consequence. So in case of a chipped tooth follow the right oral hygiene and fix an appointment with the dentist at the earliest.
The dentist can repair the damage with a filling if the chipped piece is small in size. If it is in the front teeth, a process called bonding can be done with tooth-colored composite resin. In many cases, a dental veneer, which is tooth-colored porcelain shell is also used for the repair. If the top part of the tooth gets broken off the dentist can perform root canal therapy and can place a crown at the top. Right Choice Dental Care offers the complete range of treatments to fix any problems related to chipped teeth.
What causes teeth to chip?
- Cavities: Cavities which can weaken the teeth and predispose you to a chipped tooth
- Bad Bite: Biting down on something hard, such as an ice cube, a piece of hard candy, or a bone.
- Hard Hit: Trauma to the face or mouth, such as being hit in the face with a ball while playing sports.
- Poor Hygiene: Poor oral care can make you vulnerable to a chipped or cracked tooth, especially if your tooth enamel is already damaged or thinning.
- Bruxism: Excessive teeth grinding, called bruxism, can cause a chipped or cracked tooth or cracked teeth.
What happens if a broken tooth goes untreated?
An untreated cracked tooth can lead to tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, and ultimately tooth loss. If you’ve cracked a tooth, it’s important to make an appointment to see Dr. Pinal Patel as soon as you can so that it can be evaluated and treated if necessary.
A cracked tooth can vary in its severity. It may be a small and shallow crack or it could be deeper towards the root and/or nerve. A dentist will evaluate the potential crack by looking for the crack, making gum measurements around the tooth, taking an X-ray, and possibly testing the status of the nerve or if there is pain when biting.
A crack can often result in a fracture where part of the tooth breaks off. Depending on the severity of the crack, the treatment may involve a filling, crown, root-canal therapy, or potentially even removal of the tooth. Fixing a crack early is the best way to prevent the bigger problems. That is why if you think you have a cracked tooth, you should call Right Choice Dental Care right away so we can assess the severity and treat it as necessary. Part or even the entire damaged tooth can be saved when treated promptly!
Is it a Chipped or Cracked Tooth?
Chipped Tooth - If you have a chipped tooth, you might not feel any tooth pain unless the chip is large enough to expose the nerves in the inner layer of the tooth. If a chipped tooth exposes the nerves inside a tooth, you might notice increased tooth sensitivity and pain when chewing or when the chipped tooth is exposed to very hot or very cold food and beverages. A chip on one of the pointed chewing surfaces of the back teeth is called a broken cusp. This type of chipped tooth is rarely painful, but it should be examined by a dental professional. You might need a crown or a dental onlay to restore the shape of the tooth and prevent further damage or decay.
Cracked Tooth - A cracked tooth might affect only the tooth enamel, or it might affect the entire tooth down to the root. You might only notice pain from a cracked tooth when chewing, or when the temperature in your mouth changes as you eat something hot or cold. But it is important to see a dental professional as soon as possible after you notice a cracked tooth, so it can be evaluated and treated if necessary.
How to fix a broken tooth or chipped tooth at home?
Treatment Options - A slight chip in the enamel of a tooth may only need to be smoothed over so the rough portion doesn’t irritate the tongue and cheek. However, a more extensive chip or fracture needs to be restored, and treatment options depend on how severely the tooth has been damaged.
Here are some different options for addressing a chipped tooth.
- Filling or Bonding - Most moderate chips or fractures are fixed with a dental filling but for teeth that are visible when smiling, dentists usually bond a tooth-colored filling material (called composite resin) to the tooth. For more extensive repairs, the bonding material can actually be shaped so that it looks like the employee’s natural tooth. Materials today have so many color matches, the repair is typically not even noticeable.
- Dental Veneers - Veneers are thin composite or porcelain shells that completely cover the front of a tooth to make it look as if it had never chipped or fractured. During the first of two appointments, the dentist removes a thin layer of enamel from the front of the tooth and takes impressions that are then sent to a lab, which fabricates the veneers. The second appointment involves etching the front surface of the tooth with a liquid solution and attaching the veneer using cement that is hardened with a special light.
- Root Canal Procedure - If a tooth has a severe break that exposes nerves and blood vessels, bacteria can easily enter and cause infection. In this case, root canal therapy—performed by a general dentist or endodontist—will be necessary to save the tooth. And most likely, the dentist will suggest a full-coverage crown be added afterward to fortify the broken tooth.
- Crowns - When a large portion of a tooth has broken, a full-coverage cap or crown may be the only option to prevent it from breaking beyond the point of repair. Like veneers, crowns require two appointments; one to prepare the tooth and take the impressions and a second appointment to cement the finished crown onto the tooth. Most crowns are made from either porcelain, ceramic or resin fused to metal, which matches the color of the other teeth in the mouth.
What to do when you chip a tooth?
When handling a chipped or fractured tooth, there are a few steps you can take before seeing a dentist:
- Call the dental office and schedule an appointment immediately
- Cover any sharp parts of the tooth with a piece of dental wax or sugarless gum
- Stay away from extremely hot or cold foods
- If the tooth is sensitive or causing pain, ask your dentist what over-the-counter pain relief option is best
- Rinse with warm water and use cold compresses to reduce swelling when dealing with a serious fracture
- Eat soft foods (and don’t chew with the broken tooth) in order to prevent further breakage
How do you temporarily fix a broken tooth?
Until you can see the dentist, try this:
See the dentist ASAP. Your tooth could be damaged further or get infected, and you might lose it.
- If the tooth is painful, take acetaminophen or another over-the-counter pain reliever. Rinse your mouth with salt water.
- If the break caused a sharp or jagged edge, cover it with a piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to keep it from cutting your tongue or the inside of your lip or cheek.
- If you must eat, stick with soft foods. Don't bite down on the broken tooth.