Tooth enamel may be the hardest substance in the body, but teeth can still fracture. Chipped teeth are actually a common occurrence and can fracture for many reasons. This condition can often be prevented if you take care of your smile properly. If you’re wondering why your teeth may be chipping, the following information shares the most possible causes, plus effective prevention and treatment options for chipped teeth.
Common Teeth Chipping Causes
When tooth enamel erodes, your teeth become weaker and more susceptible to chipping. Damage to your enamel can be caused by a variety of factors including the following:
- Poor oral hygiene.
- Tooth decay and cavities.
- Large tooth fillings.
- Eating a lot of acid-producing foods including fruit juice, spicy foods, coffee, sweets, sour foods and candy.
- Dry mouth. If your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva, it won’t be able to wash away particles and bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
- Acid reflux and chronic heartburn.
- Excessive alcohol use.
- Being 50 years of age or older.
Injury or Trauma
If your teeth sustain trauma or an injury, your teeth may chip. Tooth trauma can occur for a variety of reasons including:
- Not wearing a mouthguard while playing sports.
- Auto accidents.
- Trips and falls.
- Biting down on things that are too hard such as ice or hard candy.
If you have lost a tooth due to decay or trauma it’s important to replace your tooth as soon as possible. Biting and chewing forces are designed to distribute throughout your mouth, but when you have one or more missing teeth, the forces can become too much for your remaining teeth. Not only can otherwise healthy teeth chip from the excessive force, you could develop jaw and gum problems as well.
Excessing teeth grinding over time can cause teeth to chip, crack and even cause your gums to recede. While this is the least damaging cause of chipped teeth, if left untreated, teeth grinding will cause your teeth and supporting structures to break down and cause significant dental problems.
Many patients have bite issues that can lead to chipped teeth. If your upper and lower teeth do not meet properly, or your teeth have shifted, this will cause unequal distribution and more force to your teeth when you chew. Bite issues can stem from orthodontic treatment, tooth loss, tooth injury or some types of tooth repairs.
How to Prevent Chipped Teeth
There are a few precautions you can take to lessen your odds of having a chipped tooth.
- Get fitted for a custom night guard. If you are prone to grinding or clenching your teeth at night, your dentist can offer you a customized night guard to protect your teeth from chips, cracks and breaking. Many people don’t realize that they grind their teeth at night until they head to the dentist for professional teeth cleanings and dental exams.
- If you play sports, wear a mouthguard. Athletic mouthguards are essential if you or your child play sports. Sports injuries account for 40% of dental emergencies. You can get a customized mouthguard from your dentist for the best fit and protection from chips and cracks.
- Consider dental Botox. If you’re worried that your teeth grinding problem may cause your teeth to chip, you may want to also consider dental Botox which can be an extremely effective treatment for teeth grinding. When injected, Botox paralyzes muscle fibers or blocks the transmission of impulses along nerves, which relaxes your facial muscles and stops them from engaging in forceful movement of your jaw — even while you sleep.
- Boost your oral health by eating healthy foods. A variety of vegetables and fruits can neutralize acid in your mouth and increase saliva flow to keep your tooth enamel strong. Along with eating healthy foods, you should also avoid acidic and sugary drinks as much as possible which can erode enamel and increase your risk of developing chipped teeth.
Chipped Tooth Treatments
Whether you have a small chip or a more serious one, there are many dental treatments that can help restore your tooth to its original shape, or replace your tooth if it has been significantly damaged. It’s important to note that some chipped teeth may require root canal treatment depending on the extent of the damage. Treatment generally depends on your tooth’s location, severity and symptoms you may be experiencing.
- If you have a minor chip: Your dentist may just smooth and polish your tooth without further treatment.
- If you have a moderate chip: Your dentist may suggest dental bonding or place a tooth-colored filling, dental crown or dental onlay to restore your tooth to its regular appearance and functionality.
- If you have a severe chip: Your dentist may suggest dental veneers, dental implants, dental crowns or dental onlays. If your tooth nerve is exposed, a root canal may also need to be performed.
Expert Treatment for Chipped Teeth in Columbus Ohio
If you have a chipped tooth, you should get evaluated by your dentist as soon as possible to avoid further damage or a tooth infection. Our skilled dentists at Capstone Dental in Clintonville offer a variety of treatment options for chipped teeth, plus preventative care. Contact us today so we can help fix your smile.