Tooth enamel may be tough, but it isn’t indestructible. A chipped or broken tooth is a common experience that most people go through.
However, it’s paramount that you seek treatment as soon as possible to ensure there isn’t further damage to the area.
Causes of a Chipped Tooth
When an unprecedented amount of force is placed on your teeth, it’s only a matter of time before they crack. Trauma is one of the most common causes of chipped teeth. It can be as simple as playing sports like football or hockey. If you aren’t wearing a mouthguard, there’s a high probability that you might end up with a cracked tooth. But trauma doesn’t always stem from playing sports.
Some people sustain a chipped or broken tooth from unexpected events, such as tripping and falling face-first onto pavement, getting elbowed in the mouth, experiencing a car accident, or simply biting into something like hard candy.
No matter the type of trauma, a chipped tooth is nothing to brush off. In some cases, the crack may happen just below the gum line and lead to tooth structure weakness or the development of cavities.
Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems. Food debris and bacteria in the mouth can lead to acids that break down tooth enamel and eat away at the tooth’s structure. It will eventually lead to cavities developing in the tooth. If the cavities and decay get big enough, the tooth may lose its strength and crack when chewing food.
Grinding & Clenching
Teeth grinding and clenching often arise at night when you’re sleeping. Most people don’t know they clench their teeth until they start experiencing symptoms such as an aching jaw, headaches, facial pain, teeth sensitivity, or a chipped tooth.
As you clench or grind your teeth, the pressure can cause “craze lines,” which are small cracks that form in the tooth’s structure. As the crack spreads, a broken or fractured tooth may occur. When the enamel is damaged, the inner layers of the tooth no longer have protection. As a result, bacteria, acids, and chemicals can lead to an infected pulp, which can be extremely painful.
If you’re someone who has received more than one tooth filling in their life, the filling may deteriorate and lose its strength over time as fillings can’t last forever. That could lead to a crack in the entire tooth. A broken tooth is more common in people over 50, especially those with numerous fillings or individuals that don’t follow a regular oral health routine.
People who actively chew gum may experience cavities that lead to a broken tooth. That’s why many dental health professionals recommend sugarless gum to combat this problem.
Pain Relief for a Chipped Tooth
Over-the-Counter Pain Medication
Ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen are the best over-the-counter pain medications available in stores. However, we recommend ibuprofen as the most effective for those experiencing pain from a chipped tooth.
Pain and swelling from a broken tooth are not easy to deal with. Fortunately, using an ice pack as a cold compress can decrease swelling and tenderness associated with toothaches. Icing the area in 20-minute intervals can provide much-needed temporary relief until you see your dentist.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures & Crunchy Food
Hot and cold temperatures like coffee or ice cream may cause excruciating pain if your cracked tooth is sensitive. You should avoid any foods that could trigger pain in your teeth, such as crunchy foods like chips, nuts, or candy.
Using Desensitizing Toothpaste
Broken down or cracked enamel can expose your teeth to levels of uncomfortable sensitivity. Using desensitizing toothpaste may help dull the pain as a temporary solution before visiting the dentist’s office.
Applying Clove Oil to the Affected Area
It may sound made up, but applying clove oil to a broken and painful tooth can help minimize the discomfort by numbing it. Place two drops of the oil on a cotton swab and dab the chipped or broken tooth for a few minutes until the pain decreases.
Contact Your Dentist for Pain Management Options
If the pain or condition of your broken tooth becomes severe, you should contact your dentist immediately. They can provide pain management options, such as a numbing agent, pain medication, or treatment options to aid your tooth pain.
You might not require intensive treatment if you’ve experienced a minor chipped tooth.
Your dentist may use a plastic resin dental bonding to fill in the fractured tooth.
Your dentist will use cosmetic contouring to smooth out the rough edges. Then, you’ll receive a tooth-coloured composite resin to make your tooth look as good as new.
Moderate to Severe Chips
A crown, or dental cap, is necessary if you’ve lost a substantial amount of your tooth due to a fracture. This process may include filing down the remaining tooth and capping it with a dental crown. If you have an infected pulp, the dentist will remove the affected tissue before placing a new crown on the tooth.
If one or more teeth experience a fracture, your dentist can make them look flawless by applying a veneer. A dental veneer is a thin shell made from tooth-coloured resin composite materials or porcelain that’s applied over the surface of the tooth using special dental cement. Every veneer is crafted to match your specific dental needs.
Root Canal Therapy
You will need a root canal procedure if the chipped tooth reaches the pulp. During a root canal, the dentist will remove the infected tissue, sanitize your tooth from the inside, and use a rubbery material known as gutta-percha to fill and seal the fractured tooth.
If the chipped tooth is severe and you’re enduring a lot of pain, contact your nearby dentist’s office immediately. If you’re able to save the piece of the tooth that broke off, your dentist may be able to reattach it and provide further treatments.
Prevent Any Future Tooth Chips
Wear a Mouthguard
If you’re an active teeth grinder while asleep, you may benefit from using a mouthguard. Mouthguards are fitted to line up perfectly with your teeth and prevent pressure from clenching or grinding at night.
Avoid Hard Foods
You won’t be able to avoid all hard foods, but identifying which ones may harm your teeth can help you avoid a chipped tooth.
The most notorious foods for cracked teeth include:
- Hard candy
- Popcorn kernels
- Chicken wings
- Fruits with pits
- Frozen snacks
Regular Dental Check-ups
Seeing your dentist once every six months is a surefire way to determine whether there are any potential dental issues you should be aware of. Dentists can spot cavities, fractures, infections, and other dental problems and prevent them from worsening.
Proper Oral Hygiene
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and regularly flossing can reduce the risk of future oral health problems, such as cavities, fractures, infections, and more.
Experiencing a nasty chipped tooth? When in doubt, contact your reliable dentists at Dental House in Saskatoon. Our team will be able to provide an array of treatments that will help restore your oral health and natural smile.