Causes of Chipped Teeth

Oct 1, 2015 @ 10:00 AM — by Lisbeth Bradley DDS

Close up of a chipped font toothEmergencies happen when we least expect them, and dental emergencies are no exception. A tooth may be knocked out, broken, or chipped for a number of reasons. In this blog post, we’ll concentrate on the causes of chipped teeth, as well as how to restore them. Dr. Bradley offers a range of cosmetic dentistry services to address chipped teeth, including no-prep and minimal-prep porcelain veneers, tooth-colored crowns, and composite resin bonding. If you chip a tooth, rest assured that a prompt and permanent solution is possible. Chipped teeth should be repaired to retain a tooth’s structural integrity and prevent more damage from occurring. To learn more about the treatment and causes of chipped teeth, contact our Nashville practice today.

Causes of Chipped Teeth

Though our teeth are made of the single most durable substance the human body produces, tooth enamel, they can chip and break if subject to enough pressure. While your situation may be unique, these are common causes of chipped teeth and how you might avoid them.

  • A blow to the face or mouth: If you participate in sports, please wear a mouth guard! Make sure that your children wear one, as well. Boil-and-bite mouth guards can be purchased at your local sporting goods store, or we can make a custom-fitted mouth guard for you at your next dental appointment. Keep your mouth guard in a sealed container that has holes so that the appliance completely dries. Also, clean your mouth guard with soap and water or mouthwash after each use.
  • Chewing on a hard food or item: Biting down hard on a nut, seed, bone, silverware, or pen can chip a tooth. Be careful what you put in your mouth, and take special care when eating a meal that has nuts, seeds, or bones. Do not chew on non-food items, except sugar-free gum with xylitol (a cavity-fighting sweetener).
  • Chewing on ice: Chewing on ice is a common habit that poses a significant risk of tooth chips and cracks. It comes with a two-prong risk for causing chipped teeth. The extreme coldness of ice makes tooth enamel more brittle than it is at body temperature. Thus, chewing on ice not only makes teeth more susceptible to breakage, the hardness of ice can chip or crack teeth. Chew sugar-free gum instead. If you crave the feeling you get when chewing on ice, you may have an iron deficiency. Ask your general physician to test for iron when doing your bloodwork.
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding, gnashing): Many people aren’t aware they grind their teeth until their sleeping partner mentions it. In some cases, a patient learns that he or she grinds the teeth when the dentist finds evidence of tooth wear, fractures, or chips. Called bruxism, the habit of gnashing and grinding teeth during sleep may be caused by stress, overworked jaw muscles, or temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder. A simple oral appliance can keep the upper and lower teeth from touching while you sleep, ultimately eliminating the potential for nighttime grinding.  

Schedule Your Consultation

If you are guilty of any of these causes for chipped teeth, or you have a chipped tooth that needs repair, talk with Dr. Bradley. Give us a call to schedule a consultation or checkup, and Dr. Bradley will determine the best treatment for your situation.

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