“Those are jewels, not tools!” Did you hear that as a child? Unfortunately, for many people, the saying doesn’t stop them from using their teeth for all sorts of things. While they are strong, teeth are not indestructible!”
So, how do chips happen? Here are a few ways:
Grinding and clenching: This is also known as “bruxism”, which is the continued grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. Most people don’t even realize they’re doing it. They may notice a sore jaw, which can be the first sign. Your dentist can confirm you are clenching and grinding by the wear on your back molars and increased signs of gum disease. Chips and cracks can also occur when the teeth are ground together. If you find yourself grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw, it would be wise to have a fitted mouthguard made to halt further damage. Your dentist can create a custom guard for you.
Tooth decay: Our mouths are full of a variety of different bacteria, most essential to our overall health. If left to grow and multiply, however, oral bacteria can wreak havoc on teeth and cause long-term damage. Sugar in the foods we eat and liquids we drink is the main source of energy for oral bacteria. When a cavity does arise, despite our best efforts to avoid sugary and acidic foods, they must be addressed. Left alone, a cavity (or caries) can cause tooth loss and gum disease, and may require a crown.
The food you eat: Your nutrition and diet affect the overall health and strength of your teeth and gums. Proper oral care and cleaning are vital, as is reducing our sugar intake and consumption of acidic foods and drinks, which can break down enamel and weaken teeth. Moreover, avoid chewing especially hard foods and ice to help prevent cracks and chips.
Injuries from activities or accidents: Sports, outdoor activities, and accidents can all be a cause of chipped teeth. When playing sports or venturing outdoors, a mouth guard can be a great, inexpensive investment to protect your teeth. In addition to mouthguards you can get at a sporting goods store, your dentist can create a custom-fit mouthpiece to ensure your teeth are fully protected.
Using your teeth as tools: As mentioned above, using your jewels as tools can cause unwanted damage. Instead of using your front teeth to open packaging or crack nuts, find an actual tool to save your teeth from chips and cracks. To prevent the need for false teeth and partial or full dentures in the near future, care for your teeth, and try to avoid using them as tools! When your teeth chip, your dentist might recommend an inlay that “rebuilds” the tooth and matches your natural tooth color. If the chip or crack is too big, a crown may be necessary.
Regardless of how you earned them, we can fix your chips and help prevent future cracks! Whether that be through a mouthguard, a simple filling, a crown, a bridge, veneers, or dentures, we have the solution to restore your smile. Questions? Give us a call! We’d love to have you in the office for a consultation.