The Most Common Dental Injury – Chipped or Broken Teeth
A chipped or broken tooth is the most common dental injury that is seen in modern dentistry. This type of injury can range from being unnoticeable to being excruciatingly painful depending on the severity and location. If your chipped tooth is the result of trauma to the head, then you should seek out the closest emergency room immediately to ensure that you do not have worse injuries.
If you are looking for help with a chipped or broken tooth that is non life-threatening in the Oxnard or Ventura County area, then call us immediately at Carson & Carson, DDS (805) 983-0717. We offer 24/7 availability for dental emergencies such as toothaches or chipped teeth and have over 45 years of experience serving excellent quality dental care to patients in Oxnard, California.
Causes of Chipped Teeth
Although they are sturdy bones, teeth can be relatively delicate when it comes to trauma. Your teeth can be chipped or broken in a large number of ways; the most common of which include:
- Trauma to the face. This can happen from many things such as catching a baseball in the face or getting firmly hit int he head. If your head has been recently injured, then you should seek immediate medical attention.
- Cavities. Cavities can weaken the structure of a tooth causing it to break when under the right pressure.
- Biting something hard. Teeth that are poorly taken care of or have cavities are more vulnerable to cracking or breaking. When this type of tooth meets the dense surface of an ice cube, a bone, or a piece of hard candy, the tooth is not able to bite through the hard object and the force of the bite can cause it to chip or break apart.
- Opening packages with teeth. Opening or holding objects with your teeth can cause some serious damage. The added stress of manipulating objects with your teeth can easily cause cracks and chips in the structure of your teeth and should be avoided.
- Old Amalgam Fillings. Outdated fillings are not always able to support the enamel of the tooth as they are supposed to. This can cause a tooth to chip or break easier when it comes in contact with harder foods or trauma.
- Bruxism or teeth grinding. Individuals who suffer from Bruxism excessively grind their teeth. Over time, the build up of stress on a tooth from the grinding can create a weakness in the tooth structure that can cause a tooth to chip or break apart.
Repairing Chipped Teeth
Before You See The Dentist
Make an appointment to see a dental professional as soon as possible if you have chipped a tooth. Before seeing a dentist, you can provide care for the damaged tooth by: rinsing it with warm water, applying pressure with gauze to stop bleeding, or cover the chipped tooth with a dental cement from a drugstore to protect it until you are seen by a dentist.
Repair of the Chipped Tooth
Depending on the cause and severity of damage to the chipped tooth, the method of repairing the tooth can differ greatly.
For teeth that are mildly chipped, we typically smooth and reshape the tooth with bonding and contouring. Then, the tooth can be polished and is ready for use.
For teeth that are moderately chipped, a crown or filling is used to restore the normal functionality and aesthetic of the tooth and to protect the more vulnerable layers that were exposed from the tooth chipping.
For teeth that are severely chipped or broken, the common treatment is a root canal with a crown placed over the tooth after. A severely chipped tooth has damage that penetrates all 3 layers of the tooth – Enamel, Dentin, and Pulp layers, and is considered a dental emergency. Without immediate treatment, a severe chip or break can develop into an intensely painful issue through a dental infection or irreparable tooth decay that are common when a tooth is broken and left untreated.
Preventing Chipped Teeth
Not all cracks or breaks in teeth are avoidable, but there are some things that you can abstain from to better your chances of keeping your teeth in tact.
Activities to avoid:
- Chewing on hard objects such as bones, ice, or unpopped popcorn kernels.
- Not wearing a mouth guard when taking part in contact sports.
- Clenching or grinding your teeth can weaken them over time and lead to a break.
- Physical confrontation. Getting hit in the face is not too great for the longevity of your teeth.
- Opening packages with your teeth. There are far better ways to open objects than at the cost of your teeth.
You should always be careful when biting down on hard food with a tooth that has had a filling or cavity in the past as the strength of these teeth can be weaker than normal.
Schedule An Appointment Today
For immediate help with your chipped or broken tooth, call the Oxnard dentist of Carson & Carson, DDS at (805) 983-0717. We are available 24 hours a day for emergency dental treatment on issues such as chipped teeth and toothaches. Call us today for affordable dental care from dentists with over 45 years of experience in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. We serve all of Ventura County including Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Ventura, Camarillo, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Carpinteria, Santa Paula, and the greater Los Angeles area.