The enamel is one of the strongest bones in the body. However, with certain extremes, it may be prone to damage. After extreme pressure to the tooth, it may “chip” off. This is called cuspal fracture odontalgia. Teeth can chip for many reasons. These reasons are: attempting to bite something very hard, falls/accidents, sport injuries while not wearing a mouth guard, or grinding in your sleep.
You could be at a higher risk for tooth injuries if you have weakened teeth. The strength of your tooth may be reduced if you: decay your tooth with cavities, have large fillings, consume lots of acids or sugars that create bacteria, vomit frequently, or are over 50. The most common tooth to get chipped is the second lowest molar.
The symptoms of having a chipped tooth may gradually worsen over time. You may have a chipped tooth if any of the following apply to you:
- Feeling of a jagged surface when your tongue is ran around the tooth
- Gum around the tooth is irritated
- Tongue feels the rough edge of the tooth
- Pain from the pressure of biting with tooth
To prevent a chipped tooth from worsening, there are some self-care precautions you should take before you proceed with a surgical procedure. Brush your teeth and floss every night very carefully. If there is pain, you should take an anti-inflammatory painkiller like Ibuprofen. It is also recommended to place ice over your cheek where it hurts. Avoid chewing or biting using a tooth that is chipped. Wear a mouthguard when playing sports or while sleeping.
Before you consider treatment, you should see a dentist to diagnose your case. You will have to talk about events that may have caused the symptoms to occur. The procedure you will recieve is based on severity and location. If the pain gets so severe that it interferes with sleeping or eating, then it is considered a medical emergency. You should get treatment as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth or infection.
If a fragment of your tooth falls out, you should act quickly. Wash and rinse the tooth, dry it, and put it in a glass of milk so the calcium keeps it alive. If you make it to the dentist in time, they can reattach the tooth. This is called tooth reattachment. If the tooth is completely gone, you can get a bonding. The dentist will find the shape of the tooth and replace it with plastic. For a porcelain veneer, the dentist will smoothen the tooth enamel and shave a millimeter to make room for the veneer. A dental onlay is recommended if only certain parts of the tooth are affected but not the whole thing.
The complications of having chipped teeth may include:
- Pain when eating
- Extreme to hot or cold temperatures
- Bad breath
- Swollen glands
- Irritated gums
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