What Problems Can Result from a Chipped Tooth?

home Blog What Problems Can Result from a Chipped Tooth?

Chipped teeth are common among both adults and children.  Although the enamel of the teeth is very hard, the hardest, most mineralised tissue of the body, they are also relatively brittle and prone to cracking.

Teeth are commonly chipped when biting something hard, like ice, or bones, or an unexpected olive pit.  It can also happen if you fall and hit your mouth at the right angle.  Another culprits associated with chipped teeth are tooth decay and teeth grinding at night.

ProTips from The Bondi Dentist: What should I know about Chipped Teeth?

Small chips may not be an issue.  In fact, unless your small chip is sharp and can cut your mouth, or if it interferes with your smile, you may not require a procedure at all.  However, when the chip is more severe, it can expose the nerve of the tooth.  This can lead to pain, along with swollen glands, bad breath, and, if worst comes to worst, infected roots.

Here’s an Overview:

  • Watch for sharp edges that might cut your gums, tongue, or cheek
  • Deeper chips can expose the root of the tooth, making it extremely sensitive and prone to infection
  • Deeper chips can also lead to bad breath and tooth decay
  • Any time a tooth is chipped, it is weakened and has exposed fracture points.  This means the tooth can crack further at any time and require more involved procedures, like extractions or root canals.

Why Should A Chipped Tooth Be Fixed?

The bottom line is that you should always see your dentist about a chipped tooth as soon as you can.  Each case is different, and even if you are one of the lucky ones that has just a small chip without sharp edges, it can in some cases lead to problems later.

Minor chips often require very little repair.  Your dental professional may perform a bit of cosmetic dentistry, filing the chipped tooth or filling it with a dermal bond.  This is a quick, minor procedure in cosmetic dentistry.  When a tooth has a more severe crack or chip, however, more extensive dental work is required.

If the dental pulp at the centre of the tooth is exposed, it can become damaged.  The dental pulp is composed of living tissues, such as nerves blood vessels, and connective tissue.  When the pulp is damaged, it can be extremely painful, and if left untreated it can become infected.  The sooner you can have your dentist check a chip after it occurs, especially if the pulp is exposed, the less likely you are to need more extensive dental work.

How is a Chipped Tooth Fixed?

As mentioned above, minor chips are relatively easy to fix.  Your dental professional may smooth rough edges or fill the chip with a dermal enamel that matches the tooth.  More severe chips may require a cap or crown to protect the tooth from further damage or infection.  If the root or pulp is damaged, the tooth will require a root canal prior to the placement of a cap or crown.

ProTips from The Bondi Dentist: Preventing a Chipped Tooth

Great oral Hygiene!  The first step in preventing a chipped tooth is maintaining good oral hygiene.  When teeth are strong and healthy, they are less prone to chips and cracks.

Wear a mouthguard.  If you play sports, it’s important to have your dentist fit you with a mouthguard.  Athletes are prone to facial injury, and a mouthguard can significantly reduce the risk and severity of injury during sports.

Watch your habits.  Many people bite their fingernails or their pen caps when they are nervous or thinking.  Over time, this can lead to cracking or chipping, and should be avoided.

Be careful about what you chew. Some of the likeliest culprits to contribute to chips and cracks are hard candies and ice.  Try to avoid chewing ice at all, and if you have hard candy, try to resist the temptation to bite and break the candy.

If you have a chipped tooth and your teeth need attention, feel free to contact us.  At The Bondi Dentists, we know your teeth matter.