Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in your body. It’s made of carbonate substituted hydroxyapatite crystallites. Your teeth are strong enough to withstand the 200 pounds of pressure you exert when biting down. Still, your teeth are not indestructible. They can crack and chip. The process your oral health specialist will use when treating a chipped tooth will depend on where the tooth is in your mouth, and the severity of the chip.
How Does a Chipped Tooth Differ From a Cracked Tooth?
A chipped tooth can be painless as long as the chip does not expose the inner layer of your tooth. If a chip exposes the nerves inside your tooth, you may experience pain and sensitivity when chewing your food or exposing the chipped area to cold and hot temperatures.
A chip on the pointy surface of your back teeth is called a broken cusp. You are unlikely to feel much pain with this type of chip. However, you should schedule an appointment with an oral health professional to get the chip examined. You may require a dental inlay or a crown to restore the shape of the tooth and to prevent future decay.
A cracked tooth could just affect the enamel or the root. The pain from a cracked tooth is typically felt when you bite down or when you eat something that is hot or cold. It is equally important that you have a cracked tooth checked out by a dental professional to determine if a more intensive treatment is needed.
What Causes Chipped Teeth?
As previously mentioned, your teeth are strong but not invincible. Here are some causes of chipped teeth:
- Cavities could weaken your teeth, making you predisposed to a chipped tooth.
- You might bite down on something hard, such as a piece of hard candy, the pit of an olive, or a hidden bone.
- Trauma, such as getting punched in the face or getting hit with a projectile while playing sports.
- If you don’t take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing, you increase your chances of getting a chipped or cracked tooth, especially if your teeth are already damaged or thinning.
- Excessive teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can lead to chipped or cracked teeth.
Techniques for Treating a Chipped Tooth
The techniques for treating a chipped tooth your dentist will use will vary depending on the severity of the chip. If you just have a small piece of tooth enamel that has been damaged, your dentist might repair the filling with a procedure called bonding. This uses a tooth color composite resin. Bonding works well if the repair is needed on a tooth that can be seen when you smile.
Dental bonding is a simple procedure that rarely requires your dentist to numb the tooth. The procedure begins with the dentist etching the surface with a gel or liquid to make the repaired area rough so the bonding material will adhere to it. The dentist will apply an adhesive material along with a tooth-colored resin. The body material will be shaped to look like your natural tooth. Ultraviolet light is used to harden the material.
Treatment at Lovett Dental Webster
Besides bonding, some other cosmetic and general dental treatments we offer at Lovett Dental Webster include:
- Teeth cleaning and whitening
- Dental crowns and bridges
- Sedation and dental anxiety dentistry
- Fillings and sealants
- General dental oral exams
If the damage is more severe or if the tooth has substantial decay, your dentist might grind away the part of the remaining tooth and cover it with a crown designed to protect your tooth and to restore its healthy appearance. Crowns may be made of metal or porcelain fused to metal. Some crowns are made of 100 percent resin, while others are 100 percent ceramic. Crowns that are 100 percent metal are the strongest. However, porcelain/resin crowns look the closest to your original tooth.
At Lovett Dental, we love your smile and want you to love your smile as well. If you have a chipped tooth, stained teeth, tooth pain, or any other dental issue you want to address, contact us today by calling 832-932-5584. We look forward to helping you love your smile!