Your teeth are made up of pulp, which contains nerve endings, surrounded by a wall of dentin, and all coated with enamel. This enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and one of the hardest in the natural world. Unfortunately, it isn’t indestructible and can be damaged and chipped.
Enamel, like most other things, wears away and weakens over time. This means that older people are much more susceptible to chipped teeth, but it can occur no matter what your age is.
Any trauma to your teeth can result in chipping, and the most common causes are:
You will also be at greater risk of chipped teeth if your teeth have been weakened through sickness or neglect.
The following will all increase the risk of chipping:
Chips vary in size and severity; you could chip your tooth and not even notice it, on the other hand, if the bit that is broken away is big enough to expose nerve endings, it could cause you severe pain, and require the immediate attention of your dentist.
Thankfully, most chipping is not that severe, but here are the other symptoms to look out for:
If the damage is major and left untreated, it can lead to an infection in the root of your tooth that will require root canal work to repair.
Symptoms of infection are:
Anything but the most minor chipping will require the attention of a dentist, and we will discuss options for chipped tooth repair in a moment. First, here are some things you can do to alleviate the symptoms while you wait for your appointment.
If the chip is minor, your dentist will be able to smooth it out.
If it is more severe, they will recommend one of the following options:
The tooth is rebuilt with layers of a composite resin or porcelain attached to your tooth and shaped to its contours. This can last up to 10 years.
Your dentist will send an impression of your teeth to a dental lab which will make a porcelain veneer, which can then be bonded to the affected tooth. Veneers last up to 30 years.
If the damage is extensive, you may need a full dental crown, which might require the administration of anesthesia while it is being fitted.
Even if your chipped tooth is causing you only minimal discomfort, visit your dentist. Better to spend 5 minutes in the dentist’s chair now than letting the problem develop into something serious, which will take a lot more time and money to fix.
If you think you have a problem with a chipped tooth, or you feel any of the aforementioned symptoms, call us today to book an appointment!