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Chipped or Broken Tooth Causes and Repair

Enamel - or the tough, outer covering of your teeth - is one of the strongest substances in your body. But it does have it limits.

A chipped or broken tooth occurs when it has been fractured or broken or separated from its body. A broken tooth can be severe depending on the gravity of the damage. Unfortunately, you cannot treat a chipped tooth by yourself or let someone who’s not knowledgeable about oral health treat it. Broken tooth treatment may seem like a minor thing, and many see it as more of an annoyance than a dental emergency. Unless it causes pain, many people put off dealing with cracked or chipped tooth. This is not good because once a tooth has been chipped, it is at risk for further chipping, cracking, and breaking.

There may be sharp edges that bother you on how it looks and maybe you could feel the sharp edges on your tongue, cheekbone, and jaw area. You need to book an appointment with your dentist in order to avoid further mouth injuries that are maybe caused by a chipped tooth.

It is better to get an appointment than not knowing anything at all.  There may be damages that you do not see and only the dentist can identify. So, better safe than sorry.

Here are some things to consider for an urgent dentist visit:

Causes of Chipped or Broken Tooth

A broken tooth can be caused by an accident or by biting hard food accidentally that weakens your tooth enamel. It can be caused by the weakening of your tooth enamel especially when you are not taking good care of your teeth.

You may not see the severity of damage right away, there are dental fractures that are not visible, and the only way to make sure that it won’t be getting complications is that you need a dentist to check up on it.

It makes sense that weakened teeth are more likely to chip than strong teeth. Some things that reduce the strength of a tooth include:

  • Tooth decay and cavities eat away at enamel. Large fillings also tend to weaken teeth.
  • Teeth grinding can wear down enamel.
  • Eating a lot of acid-producing foods, such as fruit juices, coffee, and spicy foods can break down enamel and leave the surface of teeth exposed.
  • Acid reflux or heartburn, two digestive conditions, can bring stomach acid up into your mouth, where they can damage tooth enamel.
  • Eating disorders or excessive alcohol use can cause frequent vomiting, which in turn can produce enamel-eating acid.
  • Sugar produces bacteria in your mouth, and that bacteria can attack enamel.
  • Tooth enamel wears down over time, so if you’re 50 years or older, your risk of having weakened enamel increases. In one study published in the Journal of Endodontics, nearly two-thirds of those with cracked teeth were over 50.

Severity of Damage

Sometimes a damaged tooth does not affect the tooth enamel only but it can also affect the health of your gums. When gums are affected a different procedure needs to be undertaken. In the case of weakening tooth enamel, good dental hygiene is important to avoid this problem.

If given treatment early, dental injuries will be addressed properly and on time. In order to make sure if the damage is severe or mild, you need to let the dentist check your teeth for suitable treatment.

Change of Teeth Color

The color of your teeth also is a consideration when you have tried having a chipped tooth, when your teeth change color,  unusually that is a sign of a dental emergency. Whenever it happens on a weekend or a holiday, you can wait for a few days to have your teeth check-up.

You have to do the first aid first when your dentist is not available, such as cleaning out your mouth with warm clean water and being careful when chewing food, to make sure that you won’t worsen the situation.

A chipped tooth can be a cosmetic problem but in the long run, it has a great impact on your overall health. It does not only affect your smile but it also affects your heart and other organs related to it. So, be brave to go see a dentist if you need one. Life is better and it is better with more teeth.

How to Care for a Chipped or Broken Tooth

If your tooth is broken, chipped, or fractured, see your dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, your tooth could be damaged further or become infected, possibly causing you to end up losing the tooth.

In the meantime, try the following selfcare measures:

  • If the tooth is painful, take acetaminophen or another over-the-counter pain reliever. Rinse your mouth with salt water.
  • If the break has caused a sharp or jagged edge, cover it with a piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to keep it from cutting your tongue or the inside of your lip or cheek.
  • If you must eat, eat soft foods and avoid biting down on the broken tooth.

Treatment for a broken or chipped tooth will depend on how severely it is damaged. If only a small piece of enamel broke off, the repair can usually be done simply in one office visit. A badly damaged or broken tooth may require a more lengthy and costly procedure. Here are some ways your dentist may repair your broken or chipped tooth.

Dental Filling or Bonding

If you have chipped off just a small piece of tooth enamel, your dentist may repair the damage with a filling. If the repair is to a front tooth or can be seen when you smile, your dentist will likely use a procedure called bonding, which uses a tooth-colored composite resin.

Bonding is a simple procedure that typically does not require numbing the tooth. To bond a tooth, the dentist first etches its surface with a liquid or gel to roughen it and make the bonding material adhere to it.

Next, the dentist applies an adhesive material to the tooth followed by a tooth colored resin. After shaping the bonding material to look like a natural tooth, the dentist uses an ultraviolet light to harden the material.

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