You have finished your cold drink and start crushing frozen cubes when suddenly CRACK! This little piece you just broke is not a cube of ice; it is a tooth!
A chipped tooth is common in adults and children. It is straightforward to chip a tooth, although the enamel is the hardest and most mineralized tissue in the body. Dental issues, such as teeth grinding or tooth decay, can cause tooth chipping.
If you have a recently chipped tooth, it is essential to understand the possible problems with a chipped tooth.
What happens if you don't repair a chipped tooth?
A small chip on the tooth doesn't seem to be much of a problem, especially if it's a molar tooth that no one can see. More minor chips are generally not a problem unless they are sharp so they can cut your mouth. However, if your chip is large enough, it can lead to more severe issues, such as pain, swollen glands, sensitivity to heat or cold, bad breath, and even infected roots.
The sharp edges can cut your cheeks, gums, and tongue.
Deep chips can affect the root of the tooth and cause infections or pain in the teeth.
Deep chips will cause tooth decay resulting in bad breath.
Chips of all sizes can grow larger, and there may be more problems because root canals or extraction may be required.
When should you repair a chipped tooth?
You should always see the dentist if you have a chipped tooth. Small chips generally do not require significant repairs. Usually, the chipped area can be removed or filled with a dermal bond to give it a healthy appearance. However, larger cracks may require extensive dental care and treatment.
If the chips are enormous, they can damage the pulp of the tooth. The pulp is the inner part of teeth, which consists of nerves, living tissue, blood vessels, and connective tissue. Damage to the pulp can be excruciating and, if left untreated, can become infected. In this case, you may need crucial dental work.
How does a dentist repair a damaged tooth?
For small chips, the dentist may have to trace the rough edges or fill them with a dental filling suitable for your tooth. When there is no damage to the root or pulp, a crown may be necessary to protect the tooth from future infections. For example, when root or pulp is damaged, a root canal is essential before placing a crown on the tooth.
How to prevent a chipped tooth?
The first step is to maintain good oral hygiene to avoid a chipped tooth. Make sure you have no tooth decay or cavities to keep the tooth enamel healthy.
The dentist can also help you find a mouth guard during training. Athletes are prone to injury, especially on the face. Protective devices can help protect your teeth from damage.
If you have nervous habits like chewing on your pen cap or biting your nails, you may want to switch to something less prone to accidents, such as squeezing a stress ball.
Finally, it would help if you tried to avoid chewing hard candy. If you can't resist a sweet tooth, avoid the temptation to break and bite the candy.
Sometimes it may not be easy to prevent chipping a tooth. But with good oral hygiene, some changes in your nervous habits and even in your diet can help keep your teeth active and chip-free.
Possibly, your broken or chipped tooth does not cause pain, but you should see a dentist 24 to 48 hours after the injury to preserve your natural tooth and get the best possible result.