Tooth enamel is a hard mineral designed to protect the teeth and the rest of the body. Even so, it’s all too easy to break the enamel and chip part or all of a tooth. Common reasons that people chip a tooth include biting into a food too hard or at an unnatural angle or when an object accidentally hits them in the mouth. Certain health conditions can cause you to chip a tooth, including bruxism. Regardless of how the chipped tooth happened, it’s important to contact the Southbridge Dentistry location nearest you and come in for an exam as soon as possible.
Why Time is of the Essence with a Chipped Tooth
If you only have a minor chip, the appearance of your smile is typically the only lasting concern. However, you won’t know the extent of the damage until your dentist examines the tooth. The good news is that dentists can quickly repair a minor chip by using a dental bonding agent. Since the color closely matches that of your other teeth, the chipped tooth doesn’t stand out in any way. Severely cracked teeth with no damage to the pulp may need a crown to prevent infection and additional breakage.
A significant tooth chip can cause damage to pulp that sits inside of the tooth. The pulp contains blood vessels, connective tissue, living tissue, and nerves. Each tooth requires enough of its own pulp to remain healthy. The most common problem associated with lack of pulp inside of a tooth is severe pain. It can even become infected if not treated by a dentist, a situation that will likely mean much more dental work in the future. Other potential problems caused by an untreated chipped tooth include:
- The possibility of the chip growing larger and leading to the need for tooth extraction or a root canal.
- Sharp and jagged edges of the chipped tooth can cause cuts and bleeding of your lips, cheeks, or gums.
- The deeper the chip, the greater the likelihood of tooth decay. This can lead to bad breath, increased sensitivity, and potentially the need for a filling in the future. Deep chips are also associated with toothaches and infections.
We recommend that you schedule an appointment with the Southbridge Dentistry location nearest your home shortly after you chip your tooth. Even if it seems like no big deal, you can see that waiting can cause undesirable consequences.
How to Protect Your Teeth from Chips
Although a chipped tooth can happen to anyone, you can also take steps to reduce the risk of it happening to you. For example, don’t chew on ice or hard candy, wear a mouthguard when you play sports, and stop yourself if you start to chew on your fingernails, a pencil, or other non-food items. If you just need to release some nervous energy, consider buying a squeeze ball instead.
If you need help for a chipped tooth or another dental concern, click here to find the Southbridge Dentistry office closest to you.