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Chipped teeth are common for both children and adults and it is quite easy to chip a tooth—even with how tough our enamel is. Chipped teeth can occur several different ways, including:

  • Biting on something hard
  • Falling and hitting your mouth
  • Dental conditions, such as tooth decay or night grinding

If you currently have a chipped tooth or want to feel prepared for the potential of one, you need to know what problems can arise and how to address them. 

What happens if you ignore a chipped tooth?

Small, miniscule chips are usually not problematic unless they are sharp. While a small chip on your tooth may seem insignificant, it can lead to serious problems. You can experience pain, hot/cold sensitivity, bad breath, infected roots, and even swollen glands. Let us dig a little deeper into these problems.

Sharp edges can easily cut your cheek, tongue, and gums. This can end up causing unnecessary pain and cuts in your mouth that can take weeks to heal. 

Deep chips can create an even bigger problem. They can impact the root of your tooth and lead to tooth aches and infections. They can also cause tooth decay which results in sensitivity and bad breath.

Chips of any size can grow bigger and cause serious dental issues. When left alone, they can lead to the need for a root canal or tooth extraction. 

When should you see a dentist about your chipped tooth?

The short answer: as soon as possible. Chipped teeth are a cause for concern, and you need to alert your dentist so they can get a look at it and see what needs to be done. Minor chips typically will not need any major repair and your dentist will more than likely just file the tooth down or fill it with a dermal bond. However, bigger chips and cracks may require more extensive dental work.

If your chip is significant enough, it can damage the pulp inside the tooth. This is the center of your tooth where the living tissue, blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves are housed. Damage to this part of your tooth can be extremely painful and easily infected if left alone. Chips that cause this type of damage are going to need extensive dental work and you should seek your dental professional immediately. 

How can I prevent getting a chipped tooth? 

Maintaining good oral hygiene is the first and best step to preventing chipped teeth. Making sure you are cavity free will ensure your enamel is strong and prevent tooth decay from occurring. 

When it comes to preventing chips from happening accidentally, one of the biggest culprits for people are sports. Have your dentist fit you for a mouthguard. This will help protect your teeth from injury. Wearing protective gear while playing sports is also vital to preventing too many injuries to the face and the mouth. 

Avoid chewing on hard candies and ice. Chomping down on these hard substances is bad for your teeth and can easily lead to a chipped tooth in your mouth. If you have trouble with nervous habits such as chewing your nails or biting on a pen cap, these can also lead to chipped teeth. Switch to using a stress ball or do anything that will keep you from wearing away your teeth on hard substances. 

Prevention is the key 90% of the time. 

We cannot always predict a chipped tooth—unfortunately, accidents do happen that are far behind our control. However, you can knowingly prevent them by caring for your mouth with good dental hygiene and using a mouthguard and protective gear when participating in sports. 

If you have concerns about a chipped tooth or need help with a mouthguard, contact The Complete Dentistry of Orland Park. We are here to help you and your family keep your smiles healthy and chip-free.