With restorative dentistry, we can do amazing things. We can make your teeth look as good as new. But the best way to ensure your teeth look beautiful is to maintain your natural teeth.
A chipped tooth is a common form of tooth injury. This isn’t just a cosmetic problem–it can set your teeth up for future damage, make them wear faster, and accelerate decay.
The good news is that there are simple things you can do to help prevent chipping your teeth.
Chew Only Food
Teeth are meant for chewing food, and that’s what they’re really good for. They’re not good for chewing on other objects. If you have a nervous habit like chewing your fingernails, pens, or other objects you find around, it can really damage your teeth.
Try breaking this habit or substituting sugar free gum for the other objects you tend to chew on. If necessary, seek professional help for this problem–it can be very effective.
Don’t forget that not all parts of food are intended for eating. You might love to eat chicken right down to the bone, but stop there–don’t break the bones with your teeth. And don’t chew on unpopped popcorn kernels–they can really damage your teeth.
Don’t forget to properly clean off fruits and vegetables–especially anything you pick in your garden or get at a farmer’s market–because grit can be very damaging to your teeth.
Don’t Use Teeth as Tools
Teeth perform many functions: they chew, they help you speak, they maintain proper jaw spacing for airway support, and, of course, they help you smile beautifully. But they’re not all-purpose tools. There are many things they’re just not good at.
Among the functions your teeth aren’t supposed to do. They’re not bottle openers, scissors or pliers. They’re not even nutcrackers or icebreakers. These are technically foods, yes, but your teeth really aren’t designed to crack shells or break ice.
People often chip their teeth when they’re having fun. Horseplay can be enjoyable, but you should be aware of your limits. Don’t do something that’s likely to result in injurious falls or with an impact against solid objects.
And if you’re going to engage in organized sports, you should also be aware of your limits. Pushing yourself too far makes it more likely that you’re going to get injured. And remember to always use mouthguards and other recommended safety equipment. This isn’t just for contact sports–biking is a common source of tooth injury. Consider a helmet that gives more coverage.
Get Your Bite Checked Out
An imbalanced bite due to jaw conditions like TMJ can significantly increase your risk of chipped teeth. In a proper bite with good occlusion, your teeth all bear bite forces evenly. But if your bite is imbalanced or if your teeth are crooked, some teeth are subjected to excessive force from biting and chewing. This can wear them out over time, or it can lead to a repeated chipping of teeth with what should be everyday use.
If You Do Chip a Tooth
It’s still possible to have an accident and chip your tooth despite your best efforts at prevention. If this happens, don’t panic. A minor tooth chip isn’t necessarily an emergency. But contact us right away if the tooth is sensitive to heat, cold, or pressure. Also act quickly if you’re bothered by the sharpness of the chip or the appearance of your teeth. Otherwise, make an appointment at your next convenience and we can talk about restorative dentistry solutions like dental crowns or porcelain veneers. If an imbalanced bite is leading to repeated tooth damage, we might recommend full mouth reconstruction to rebuild your bite.