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Chipped Teeth: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

  • Written by Daily Bulletin

Is a Chipped Tooth a Dental Emergency?

You’re probably wondering whether a chipped tooth is something you should eat your heart out over. Well, the answer is no — and yes. While a chipped tooth isn’t a life-threatening emergency, it can become a problem. Depending on how deep the chip is, it can negatively impact the tooth structure. It can also cause new chips and cracks in the future if not treated properly. You can also experience toothache, tooth decay, and tooth sensitivity. That will result in you feeling discomfort when drinking cold or hot drinks, as well as pressure sensitivity. 

If you’re stuck with a chipped tooth, don’t worry. Fixing your tooth emergency in time will save you from the complications that might rear their heads out. If you happen to live in Illinois and need emergency dental services, you should act now and make an appointment.

What Are the Symptoms of a Chipped Tooth

Depending on the size of the lost fragment, a chipped tooth can be easy or difficult to notice at first. Here are some of the usual chipped tooth symptoms to look out for. 

  • A jagged surface — When you run your tongue over your teeth, do you feel a rough, jagged surface? If so, you definitely have a chipped tooth.
  • Pain or discomfort — Pressure when biting, which results in pain, is usually a tell-tale sign of a chipped tooth. If the chip is near the nerve of the tooth, you might experience intense pain. In that case, you will need emergency dental care. 
  • Irritation — You might feel irritation on the gum surrounding the chipped tooth. Irritation can also come from scratching your tongue against the chipped surface. 


Chipped Tooth Causes

While teeth may be the hardest part of the human body, they aren’t unbreakable. In fact, many things can cause them to chip. Some of them include:

  • Bad dental hygiene — Just like with many teeth problems, poor dental hygiene can be the root cause of chipped teeth too. Practicing good dental hygiene may spare you a trip to the dentist or two, no matter what problem we are talking about.
  • Physical trauma — This one is obvious. Falling or being involved in an accident is a common way to end up with a chipped tooth.
  • Cavities — Dental cavities can cause many different issues to pop up. By weakening the tooth, cavities can be the direct cause of chipping. 
  • Bad bite — A bad bite essentially means that your teeth are misaligned. This can cause your teeth to weaken over time and leave you with chipped teeth.
  • Biting your nails — Nail biting can be a nasty habit that you just can’t get rid of. For many people, it can be a way to momentarily cope with stress. However, aside from being unhygienic, it is also bad for your teeth. Constantly applying pressure on your teeth can cause them to grow weak. Nail-biting can also lead to subconscious teeth grinding. So, put your nails to rest, and find different stress relief. 
  • Teeth grinding — Many people grind their teeth without even realizing it, especially when asleep. It can be a nervous reaction or an anxiety response.
  • Piercings — Having piercings on your tongue or cheeks might be cool, but your teeth don’t appreciate it. The hard jewelry will be making constant contact with your teeth. These interactions can cause them to weaken and chip.
  • Chewing on ice — This is a common habit caused by the lack of nutrients in the body. However, it can lead to your tooth enamel weakening. Which, you guessed it, leads to chipping.
  • Chewing on a pen/pencil — Many people tend to chew on a pen or a pencil while bored at school or work. But it’s all fun and games until it causes your teeth to chip.


Chipped Tooth Treatments

Maybe you’ve realized by now that you’ve got a chip on your tooth. So, how do you treat it? Well, luckily, there are a lot of different ways to go about treating a chipped tooth. 

The first thing you can do is locate the problem and assess its severity. These are the deciding factors when mulling over whether or not it is a medical emergency. If you see a small tooth fragment is missing, you are probably fine. But, if your emergency dentist comes to the conclusion that your tooth is seriously chipped, you can consider the following options:

Bonding or Filling

Small chips are usually treated with a filling. If the damage is visible, bonding is a viable treatment too. 

Bonding can be used if the chip is on one of your front teeth. In short, a tooth-colored composite resin is applied to the surface of your tooth, and it is molded to its form. The material is then hardened and dried using UV lights. After the tooth has completely dried, it is shaped again until the material is perfectly molded to fit it. 

Veneers

Dental veneers are usually the way to go if your front tooth is broken or chipped. Your dentist will shave away your tooth enamel and make sure your tooth is completely smooth. When this is done, there will be enough space for the veneer. After that is done, an impression of your tooth will be sent to the lab. While your veneer is being worked on, you will be provided with a temporary one. But the wait will be worth it since veneers usually last decades.

Tooth Reattachment

Do you still happen to have the broken-off fragment of your tooth? Well, you’re in luck! You might just be able to salvage it! To keep it alive, put it in a glass of milk. That way, the calcium will make sure it stays alive and well. 

However, make sure to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Time is of the essence since your dentist might be able to reattach the fragment to the remaining part of your tooth!

Dental Crown 

In cases where a large part of your tooth has been lost, your dentist will recommend capping it with a crown. It will maintain the functionality of your tooth and also make sure it looks good aesthetically. 

How to Take Care of Your Chipped Tooth at Home 

So, what do you do until your dentist appointment? Here are a few ways to take care of your chipped tooth at home:

  • * If you’re experiencing pain, consider taking painkillers to relieve it.
  • * If you’re hungry, opt for softer foods that don’t require a lot of chewing.
  • * To minimize the risk of infection, make sure to thoroughly rinse your mouth with saltwater. 
  • * If your chipped tooth has a sharp edge, place some paraffin wax over it. If you don’t have any, sugarless chewing gum will also do. 

Most importantly, remember that while a chipped tooth isn’t a medical emergency, it can cause many issues. So, make sure to visit a dental office as soon as possible. 

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