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Cosmetic Dentistry

How to Avoid Chipping a Tooth, and What to Do if It Happens
May 23, 2018

girl with teeth pain Dental Care Center

A smile is the first thing people notice about you and makes a lasting impression; the last thing you want is to ruin that beautiful smile with a chipped tooth. Teeth are the strongest part of the human body, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful with them.

Common Causes of Chipped Teeth

Accidents happen, and chipped teeth can occur in various and even surprising ways. One patient came to us after biting too hard on a fork. However, some situations are “the usual suspects” for a chipped tooth. Here are the more common causes:

  • Sports. Whether it’s a knee or arm to the mouth or a mouth to the ground, sports are a common way to get a chipped tooth. The best way to prevent this is with a mouthguard. They sell cheap generic mouthguards at sports stores or even stores like Target or Walmart, or you can talk to your dentist.
  • Using your teeth as a tool. Many times when opening a tough soda top or ketchup packet, children (and adults) resort to using their teeth to open it. Using your teeth seems like a good option because fingers slip; however, this can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the teeth and can result in a chip or a crack. It is better to ask someone for help, or maybe try a paper towel or the inside of your shirt to keep your fingers from slipping. Your teeth were not made to be a tool.
  • Chewing ice. Repetitively chewing ice can be terrible for your teeth because it can wear down enamel, which makes your teeth more susceptible to chipping or cracking.
  • Grinding your teeth. Many people grind their teeth while they sleep. Grinding can cause the enamel to become weaker and more prone to chipping.

What to Do after Chipping Your Tooth

Ow! If you have chipped a tooth, call your dentist as soon as you can. If you don’t have time to go to the dentist right away, here are some home remedies to get you through the day.

  • Use a salt water rinse with ibuprofen if you experience pain.
  • Keep the area from affecting the rest of your mouth. You can put a piece of wax or chewing gum over the area to keep the jagged edge from cutting the inside of your mouth or tongue.
  • Try a temporary filling from a drugstore. The kit is sold at many drugstores and has detailed instructions on how to use the product. Temporary fillings are an option for someone who has to go somewhere with a chipped tooth and doesn’t want it to be noticeable. Temporary fillings aren’t very strong and should be used with care (especially while eating). However, it will buy you some time before you go to the dentist.

Once you visit your dentist, he or she can decide the best repair based on the severity of the chip or crack. For small chips, your dentist will most likely use “bonding,” applying a tooth-colored material to the area as a filler. Once complete, your tooth should appear normal. In severe cases, your dentist may have to install a crown or perform a root canal.

Contact your team at the Dental Care Center if you need to fix a chipped tooth.