The enamel covering your teeth is very strong, but it can get damaged. Chipped teeth might not cause you much pain, but they are certainly unsightly. In general, you can chip a tooth when it gets hit hard enough by something. Here are some more specific ways you can chip a tooth and how you can get it repaired.
How People Chip Teeth
- Auto accidents: Having a car crash is a traumatic experience. Even with modern safety tools like airbags, you could still get injured in an auto accident. These injuries can include shipping your teeth if you hit them on the steering wheel or just jar your teeth together too strongly.
- Bike accidents: Bikes do not have airbags, so in some ways, an accident while riding your bike could do worse damage to your teeth. That’s especially true if you take a fall on the road or a similarly hard surface. Bike helmets do not protect your smile.
- Chewing on ice cubes: Believe it or not, chewing on ice can chip your teeth. Ice is very strong. It takes a lot of pressure to crack it. When you chew ice, it’s easy to suddenly crack the ice and slam your teeth together way too hard. The ice itself can damage your teeth as well.
- Drinking from water fountains: Many fountains have a bubbler, or a piece of metal surrounding the hole where the water comes from. Normally, it’s not a problem. But your teeth are going to be very close to that metal. If someone suddenly hits you or bumps into you hard, you could bang your teeth against the metal and chip a tooth.
- Chewing unpopped popcorn kernels: As a whole, popcorn can be good for you. (If you skip the salt and butter, of course.) However, each bag of popcorn usually has some unpopped kernels. These are very hard. If you’re expecting to bite down on soft popcorn and hit a kernel instead, you could accidentally chip your tooth.
- Tooth decay: Cavities are areas of your enamel corroded by harmful bacteria. These create weak spots in your teeth similar to how termites create those in wood. If you get hit on your teeth, you’re more likely to get chips where the enamel is weak due to tooth decay.
- Using teeth to open or carry things: It’s tempting to use your mouth as an extra hand. People often carry things with their teeth or even tear open bags and boxes with them. Your teeth are not designed for this, so you can end up chipping a tooth this way.
- Bruxism: Bruxism is the technical name for grinding your teeth unconsciously. Your teeth are supposed to grind when you chew, but you’re not supposed to chew that often. Bruxism can put extra wear on your enamel as your teeth grind together that much. These worn spots weaken your enamel like tooth decay, creating a greater chance of having a chipped tooth.
How To Repair A Chipped Tooth
- Dental veneers: These are thin but strong shells that are bonded with the front of your teeth. Once placed, they will cover over any chips with a life-like, healthy appearance. They also add a layer of protection to your tooth.
- Tooth bonding: In this restorative dentistry treatment, our dentists will use a composite resin colored to look like healthy teeth. The resin is carefully applied to your teeth and shaped to fill in the chipped area. After tooth bonding, your chipped tooth will look healthy and natural again.
- Tooth contouring: If the chip is small and shallow, tooth contouring might help. Our dentists will carefully remove some of the tooth’s enamel to smooth out the chip. This can make it look like nothing ever happened to your tooth. However, tooth contouring cannot work if the chip is deep.
- Dental crowns Crowns are a restorative dentistry treatment that covers the visible part of your tooth. Dental crowns are made to look and feel just like healthy teeth. They’ll hide any chips while keeping your teeth strong.
You don’t have to live with a chipped tooth. Our dental team can help make your chipped teeth look great and be strong again. Contact either of our two Connecticut offices — Bridgeport/Trumbull at 203-372-1220 or Shelton at 203-378-9737 — for an appointment.