Do you know that bitting down on hard candies, injuries, or falls can cause a Chipped Tooth?
A chipped tooth can not only be an issue for your overall oral health, that affects the roots of teeth and appearance, but, can also be painful.
Moreover, a chipped tooth can cause pain when chewing or exposed to hot or cold temperatures.
Pain can occur erratically as well.
In some cases, you may have no symptoms.
However, a fracture or missing piece of your tooth can also be visible.
Treatment for a chipped tooth varies depending on the extent of the crack or chip.
While smaller cracks or chips can be repaired easily, others need more serious treatment.
Keep on reading to learn more about a chipped tooth, when to see a dentist, treatment options, and more in this extensive guide.
Enamel or the tough outer covering of your teeth is one of the strongest substances in your body.
However, it does have its limits.
A forceful blow or excessive wear and tear can cause your teeth to chip.
This results in a jagged tooth surface that can be sharp, tender, and disfiguring.
There can be a number of symptoms of a chipped tooth, however, there can be no symptoms as well.
Factors like biting down on hard substances, falls, car accidents, etc can lead to chips in the tooth.
However, there is a difference between a chipped and a cracked tooth.
Let’s discuss it as follows:
Chipped Tooth vs. Cracks Tooth
A chipped and a cracked tooth may sound similar, however, they are different.
A crack in a tooth often starts near the gum line and spreads towards the chewing surface of the tooth.
Though the root remains intact, a fracture line can also become visible across the tooth.
In some cases, the fracture is only visible using a microscope, and a dental professional will have to find it.
In other cases, the crack may extend through the entire tooth, starting from the chewing surface to the root.
The root of the tooth is the part that is inside the bone socket.
A chipped tooth is a tooth that has broken and a small or large piece may have been knocked off.
It can occur due to:
- a fall
- sports injury
- trauma to the mouth
- biting something had
It is important to note that a chipped tooth is one of the most common dental injuries.
When to See a Dentist
It is important to note that it is best to get treatment for a chipped tooth as soon as possible after injury.
This can help to prevent further damage.
However, in case of a cracked tooth, get medical advice or treatment as soon as possible.
If you do not get treatment, a crack can cause permanent damage to the tooth and its root to the point that it is no longer functional and needs to be pulled out.
There are different types of cracked teeth. These are:
Fractured Cusp or tooth prominence where a piece of the chewing surfaces breaks off, in most cases a molar.
Cracked tooth where a crack tends to extend from the chewing surface to the gum line.
Slipt Tooth where a crack has split open the tooth into two distinct pieces.
Vertical Root Fractures tend to begin at the root of the tooth and extend towards the chewing surface.
Moreover, they may have no symptoms but can be most damaging over time.
Therefore, it is important to see a dentist for most chipped and cracked tooth cases.
However, in some cases, like in craze lines, there is no need to see an Arabic Female Dentist.
Causes of a Chipped Tooth
There are a number of factors that can cause chips to your tooth.
Some of the common causes are:
- biting down on hard substances like ice or hard candy
- grinding your teeth while asleep
- fall or car accidents
- playing contact sports without a mouthguard
Symptoms of a Chipped Tooth
In case the chip on the tooth is minor and not on the front of your tooth, you may not even know to have it at all.
However, when you do have symptoms, they may include:
Feeling a jagged surface when you run your tongue over your teeth.
Irritation of gum around the chipped tooth, irritation of the tongue from “catching” it on the uneven tooth, and rough edges.
Moreover, pain from pressure on the tooth when biting can be intense if the chip is near to or exposes to the nerves of the tooth.
One of the important things to note is that if you have weakened teeth, then you are more likely to have a chip than stronger teeth.
Some factors that can reduce the strength of your tooth are:
Tooth decay and cavities that eat away at the enamel, large fillings also tend to weaken the teeth.
Grinding teeth can also wear down the enamel.
Eating a lot of acid-producing foods like fruit juices, coffee, and spicy foods can break down the enamel.
And this can even leave the surface of the tooth exposed.
Moreover, acid reflux or heartburn can bring stomach acid up into your mouth.
These two digestive conditions can damage the tooth enamel.
Eating disorders or excessive alcohol use can cause frequent vomiting, which in turn tends to produce enamel-eating acid.
Furthermore, sugar tends to produce acid in your mouth, and the bacteria can attack the enamel.
Tooth enamel wears down over time, so if you are 50 years of age or older, your risk of having weak enamel increases.
According to a study in the Journal of Endodontics, nearly two-thirds of those with cracked teeth were over 50 years of age.
Which teeth are more at Risk?
Any weakened tooth is at risk, however, one study suggests that the second lower molar is most at risk.
This is because it takes a fair amount of pressure when chewing and teeth with fillings are most prone to chipping.
With that being said, intact teeth are also subject to chipping.
Your dentist will make a diagnosis for a chipped tooth via a visible inspection of your mouth.
Moreover, they will also consider your symptoms and ask about events that may lead to chipping.
Treatment of the chipped tooth depends on the location, severity, and symptoms.
Unless it causes severe pain and significantly interferes with eating and sleeping, it is not a medical emergency.
However, you should still seek medical advice or make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to avoid infection or further damage to the tooth.
Your dentist can treat a minor chip by simply smoothing and polishing the tooth.
For more extensive chips your doctor may recommend one of the following:
Tooth Reattachment and Bonding
In case you still have the tooth fragment that breaks off, place it in a glass of milk to keep it moist.
The calcium will help keep it alive.
However, if you do not have milk, tuck it into your gum, making sure not to swallow it.
Then get to your dentist as soon as possible, as they may be able to cement the fragment back onto the tooth.
On the other hand, a composite resin of plastic material or porcelain, i.e. layers of ceramic can be cemented to the surface of your tooth and shaped to its form.
With the help of ultraviolet lights, your dentist will harden and dry the material.
After drying, they will do more shaping until the material fits your tooth exactly.
Moreover, bonds can last for up to 10 years.
Before attaching a veneer your dentist will smooth away some of the enamel of your tooth to make room for the veneer.
Often they will shave away less than a millimeter.
Your dentist will make an impression of your tooth and send it to the lab where they will create the veneer.
However, in the meantime, you can also use a temporary veneer.
When the permanent veneer is ready, they will bond it to your tooth.
Thanks to the durable materials, the veneers can last for about 30 years.
In case the chip only affects a part of your tooth, your dentist can suggest getting a dental onlay.
They will apply it to the surface of the molar.
However, if the damage to your tooth is significant, they may recommend a full dental crown.
You will receive anesthesia so that your dentist can work on your teeth to make sure there is room for an onlay.
In most cases, your doctor will take a mold of your tooth and send it to a dental lab to create an onlay.
Once they have it, they will fit it onto your tooth and then cement it on.
With advancements in technology, some dentists may choose to mill porcelain onlay right in the office and place them that day.
Moreover, dental onlay can even last for decades.
However, a lot depends on whether you eat a lot of food that puts pressure on the only and what was affected.
For instance, one that gets a lot of pressure when you chew, like a molar will wear more easily.
Cost of Procedures for Chipped Tooth
The cost of the above procedures can carry greatly on what part of the country you live in.
Moreover, some other factors are:
- the affected tooth
- the extent of the chip
- whether the pulp of the tooth where nerves are affected or not.
Generally, you can expect the following:
Planing and Smoothing: is the cheap option
Tooth reattachment: you will have to pay for the dental exam.
However, as the tooth attachment does not need much in the way of materials, the charges are often minimal.
Bonding: depends on the complexity of the procedure
Veneers or Onlays: depends on the material your dentist will use and much time they need to prepare before affixing the veneer/ tooth crown.
Self-Care of a Chipped Tooth
While you will most likely need a dentist to repair a chipped tooth, there are steps you can take to reduce injury to the tooth, till you see your doctor.
Place temporary dental filling material, a teabag, sugar-free gum, or dental wax over the jagged edge of the tooth to protect your tongue and gums.
You can take anti-inflammatory painkillers like iburophen if you have pain.
Moreover, you can place ice on the outside of your cheek if the chipped tooth is causing irritation to the area.
Floss to remove the food that gets stuck between your teeth. This can cause even more pressure on your chipped tooth when you chew.
Avoid using a chipped tooth.
Swipe clove oil around any painful gums to numb the area.
Furthermore, you can wear a protective mouth guard when you play sports or at night if you grind your teeth.
When the chip os extensive that it starts to affect the root of your tooth, it can ensue an infection.
Treatment is a root canal. The following are the symptoms of an infection:
- sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- pain while eating
- bad breath or sour taste in your mouth
- swollen glands in your neck or jaw area
A chipped tooth is a common dental injury and in most cases, it does not produce significant pain. And you can successfully get treatment using a variety of dental procedures.
While many dentists do not consider it a medical emergency, the sooner your get treatment, the better the chances of limiting any issues. Recovery is often fast once the dental procedure is complete.