You are enjoying your favourite drink and are munching on a cube of ice when you suddenly feel (and hear) a cracking sound. This is when you realize that a piece of your tooth cracked or chipped. What a bummer! Now, what do you think you should do when faced with this problem? Is there a difference between a crack or chipped tooth with the way one should address it? Here is some information regarding a chipped tooth that every one of us should know.
Broken Tooth: Is it Chipped Or Cracked?
Having a broken tooth is not a good sign of a healthy dental cavity. Getting your tooth chipped or cracked easily may be an indication that your dental cavity is missing the right minerals and nutrients to keep it healthy and strong. However, even if you have the healthiest and the strongest of teeth, accidents that could cause trauma to the mouth may still cause a cracked or chipped tooth. Is there a difference between the two?
A chipped tooth is somehow more serious than a cracked one, basing it on the literal meaning of the terms. If you chip a tooth, a part of the tooth gets removed, but a cracked one may only affect the outer surface of the tooth or the enamel. A chipped tooth may not cause any discomfort or sensitivity like a cracked one, but if both tooth damages affect the pulp or the tooth root, either of them can cause a toothache.
What Causes You To Have A Chipped Tooth?
Tooth fracture, a dental term from a cracked or chipped tooth, can be commonly caused by the following:
- Tooth grinding (bruxism)
- Cavity formation causing tooth decay
- Consuming hard foods
- Trauma caused by an accident or a blow on the face
These causes may either be unpredictable and unexpected, but all of them can be prevented and avoided.
How To Prevent Tooth Fracture?
A cracked or chipped tooth can be prevented if we all take good care of our dental health. Here are some practices that can help us preserve the integrity of our teeth.
Good Dental Hygiene
Making sure that our teeth are strong and are free from plaque and tartar build-up that may cause cavities and tooth decay is a perfect practice in itself to avoid tooth fracture. Ensure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day with flossing and mouth rinsing as an additional dental habit.
Choose your Food
Avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your teeth by avoiding the consumption of hard foods. Hard candies, ice, and other tough food materials can crack or chip your tooth.
Wear Protective Devices
Mouthguards and night splints when playing active contact sports or when sleeping can be the solution you are looking for. Accidental blows to the mouth while playing can be cushioned by mouthguards that are customised to fit your teeth. Likewise, wearing night splints can protect your teeth from grinding or bruxism.
How to Fix A Chipped Tooth?
Fixing a chipped tooth can vary depending on the extent of the fracture, the location of the tooth, and the symptoms that it can cause.
Small Chipped Tooth
If the crack or chipping is minimal and is only on the surface of the tooth, the dentist can just smoothen or polish the tooth so that it will not cause any nick or cut to your gum or tongue. No additional dental procedure may be needed to mask the fracture as it may be unnoticeable.
Medium Chipped Tooth
A medium-type tooth fracture can be defined as minor chipping that affects the enamel and has an observable crack or breakage on the tooth. Just polishing the tooth may not work since the crack or chip makes the tooth look smaller than usual. Your dentist may resolve the problem using dental fillings or crown placement so that the normal appearance of the tooth may be regained. Some dentists also perform dental bonding or may recommend using dental veneers so that the tooth may look as if nothing happened.
Large Chipped Tooth
If the chipping or crack affects the innermost part of the tooth that houses the nerve and the blood vessels, the dentist should act on it as soon as possible. While small- to medium-type tooth fractures can wait, large tooth fractures are considered as a dental emergency. Visit an emergency dentist as soon as the accident happened so that prompt ways to preserve or save the tooth can be done. If the nerves are badly affected, but the tooth is still salvageable, your emergency dentist or oral surgeon may perform a root canal treatment so as to remove the nerves that may cause pain and further complications later. However, for tooth fractures that cause complete damage to the nerves and crown, there is no choice but to have it extracted. You can opt for a restorative dental procedure afterwards, like wearing dentures or having dental implants.
No one wants to experience tooth fractures no matter how simple it could be. We should all then make sure that we are doing our part in taking care of our dental cavity and treating them as part of our overall general health.