Have you experienced trauma to the face, maybe by a baseball or hard fall? Or perhaps you chomped down on a hard piece of candy or ice cube, causing a piece of your tooth to chip off. Although teeth are the hardest substance in the body, they are vulnerable to damage. Fortunately, a tooth chip can generally be repaired by a dentist in Clermont, FL.
What Causes a Chipped Tooth?
Tooth enamel refers to the outermost layer of tooth. As it is the most mineralized substance in the body, it is also the most resilient. However, over the years, enamel can wear down and become thinner and more susceptible to damage. Certain activities and events can lead to a chipped tooth, such as:
- Trauma to the mouth
- Grinding teeth while sleeping
- Car accidents
- Opening bottles or packages with teeth
- Contact sports
- Chewing hard items, like ice or candy
- Decay that weakens the teeth
- Loose amalgam fillings
Types of Tooth Chips and Breaks
There are many types of accidents that can damage teeth, and depending on the area of the mouth affected and the severity of the damage, your Clermont dentist may recommend various treatment options.
Some chips occur on the front teeth, making them visible when you open your mouth or smile. Small chips on the front teeth are often repaired with a bonding material that involves placing a tooth-colored composite resin over the chip to fill in the gap.
When chips or breaks occur on the chewing surfaces on the top of the back teeth, it is known as a cusp break. When a piece of the cusp chips, it can create alignment issues and cause sharp edges that irritate the tissues of the mouth. To eliminate the sharpness of the cusp, local dentists may recommend slightly filing down the top of the tooth. If the chip is larger, a crown may be fitted over the tooth.
Chips and breaks can also occur for other reasons, such as significant decay or a blow to the mouth that causes the tooth to split or form a vertical break. Depending on the severity of the damage, the tooth may require a root canal or need to be pulled.
What to Do If You Have a Chipped Tooth
If you experience a chipped tooth, you will want to contact your dentist in Clermont right away to determine the best course of action. In the meantime, there are things you can do at home to remain comfortable while you wait.
First, rinse your mouth with warm salt water. This may help relieve some pain and prevent infection. If there is bleeding in the mouth, apply pressure to the affected area using a clean gauze. An ice pack applied to the cheek where the chipped tooth is located can help reduce swelling. Be sure to place a thin, clean cloth between the ice pack and your face and minimize icing sessions to 10 minutes at a time.
If the chipped tooth feels sharp and is causing discomfort to your cheeks or tongue, put a piece of dental wax or sugarless gum onto the chipped tooth until you can get to the dentist office. Dental cement can be useful for filling any gaps in the tooth that may be causing discomfort due to stimuli like hot or cold.
When eating, consume only soft foods until the tooth can be repaired. Avoid biting down on the broken tooth to prevent more damage from occurring. Ideally, you should see your dentist the same day or the next day to prevent the chip from getting worse.
Look for signs of infection that may occur if the chip reaches the tooth root, causing inflammation and spreading bacteria. When an infection develops, you may experience pain while eating or sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages. As the infection progresses, you may develop a fever, swollen glands in the neck and jaw, a sour taste in the mouth, and bad breath.
Contact Clermont Family Dentistry
A chipped tooth is no cause for panic. Reach out to our friendly Clermont dental team at Hancock Village Dental to learn how we can help restore your smile. We look forward to hearing from you!