Maryville, Alcoa and Knoxville TN
Chipping a tooth is quite common among children and adults. Even though dental enamel is the hardest, most mineralized tissue in the body, it can be quite easy to break, even by accident. While aesthetics is of some importance, so is the general health of your teeth. Ignoring the fact that you have a chipped tooth may lead to more extensive damage to your oral health. Find out why having a chipped tooth is a big deal, and what your Maryville dentist can do about it.
What happens if you do not repair a chipped tooth?
Although a small chip in your tooth can seem like no big deal, especially if the damage is out of sight like in a back tooth, it can cause more problems if it is ignored. Besides the tooth being sharp and potentially irritating or cutting your tongue or cheek, ignoring a chipped or fractured tooth could lead to problems down the road. If the chip is large enough, it could cause more serious issues like hot and cold sensitivity, tooth decay, pain, or even an infection. When a tooth becomes chipped, it means the interior structure of the tooth, the dentin layer, is exposed. Dentin is weaker than enamel, and can easily cause tooth sensitivity, and is more susceptible to decay. If a chip starts off small, it can quickly grow into a bigger problem since the tooth is more vulnerable than before.
When do you need to repair a chipped tooth?
Any time you chip a tooth, you should visit your dental office in Alcoa to determine the amount of damage that was caused. Typically, minor chips can be repaired with dental bonding, so it appears to be a whole tooth again. This procedure is simple and can be completed in a single office visit to your Maryville cosmetic dentist at Cedar Street Family Dentistry. In some cases, a dental crown may be the best solution to provide complete protection against further damage.
If the tooth fracture is extensive, exposing the dental pulp inside your tooth, a root canal may be needed. The pulp is made of living tissue, blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue, and damage to the pulp can be painful. If left untreated, the pulp can become infected, requiring extensive dental work and possible extraction of the tooth.
How do I prevent a chipped tooth?
The first step to prevent a chipped tooth is to establish and maintain a good oral care routine. Brushing twice a day, flossing a minimum of once a day, and visiting your dentist in Maryville, for regularly scheduled cleanings and checkups will help keep your mouth healthy while monitoring your oral health for any potential problems. A weakened tooth or loose filling could indicate a potential risk for a broken tooth.
Wear a sports guard
Protecting your teeth while playing sports can drastically reduce tooth injuries. Wear a mouthguard while participating in sports to prevent accidents that may break your teeth or knock one out. Your Maryville family dentist, Dr. Ben Sentell, offers custom-made sports guards for patients of all ages.
Curb nervous habits
For some people, feeling nervous can lead to a habit of chewing on things like pen caps, erasers, and biting their fingernails. Therefore, it is a good idea to seek another method to release pent-up nervous energy. For example, keep a stress ball nearby so you can squeeze it when you feel nervous or anxious.
Avoid chewing on anything hard
Avoid substances such as hard candy and ice. These are items that are difficult to bite into and chew and are often the culprits of chipped or fractured teeth. If you must have hard candy or ice, it is recommended that you allow it to melt in your mouth versus attempting to chew it.
Wear a mouthguard for bruxism
If you clench and grind your teeth at night, you should wear a custom-fitted night guard. The purpose of the night guard is to absorb the shock and force when you clench and grind, so your teeth remain protected. You can find out more about bruxism and how our custom-made night guards work by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Sentell, a Knoxville area family dentist.
Whenever you chip a tooth, no matter how big or small, it is essential that you see your dental professional at Cedar Street Family Dentistry to assess the damage. Once you know how much damage was caused, you can have it repaired and avoid additional future problems. The next time you have a chipped tooth, call Cedar Street Family Dentistry at (865) 233-7640 for Dr. Sentell to explore your options to repair your chipped tooth.