Oh No! I Chipped my Tooth!

The Top 5 Problems that can Arise from a Chipped Tooth

While a chipped tooth may not seem like a big deal, especially if it’s a minor chip, you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. If the chipped tooth is at the front of your smile, you are definitely going to want to see the dentist to correct any cosmetic issues. However, even if the chipped tooth isn’t noticeable or is in the back of your mouth, it can cause serious dental problems. Read on to find out the most common causes of chipped teeth and the top 5 problems that can arise from a chipped tooth if you don’t seek treatment. 

Technically, a chipped tooth is actually a small tooth break.  The most common causes of a chipped tooth are: 

  • Falling or other injuries. No matter how careful you are, accidents happen.   
  • Sports injuries. If you don’t use a mouth guard while playing sports, especially contact sports, you are at a higher risk of chipping a tooth.  
  • Biting into something hard.  Hard candies and ice cubes are common culprits. 
  • Cavities. Cavities weaken the teeth and can make a chipping a tooth much more likely. 
  • Poor oral hygiene. Not brushing and flossing regularly can lead to damaged tooth enamel which weakens the teeth. 
  • Teeth grinding. If you grind your teeth, you are especially susceptible to chips and cracks. 

Some chips are minor and may not cause any discomfort at first.  In other cases, a chipped tooth, especially if it was caused by trauma to the mouth or tooth, may cause a great deal of pain and require a repair as soon as possible. If you have tooth pain when you bite down, feel a jagged surface when you use your tongue to feel your teeth, you have an abrasion on your tongue, or your gum is irritated around the chipped tooth, contact your dentist right away.  Even if you aren’t experiencing any severe symptoms of a chipped tooth, it is still important to see your dentist as soon as you can. Not seeking treatment for a chipped tooth can lead to these 5 oral health issues: 

  1. Abrasions. When you chip your tooth, you can be left with sharp edges of tooth enamel that can scratch or cut the soft tissues inside your mouth. Abrasions can make eating and drinking painful and can cause an infection to develop.
  2. Need for a crown.  If the chip in your tooth is severe, you may need a crown. However, even a minor chipped tooth can require a crown if you don’t seek dental treatment, as leaving the chip alone can lead to further cracking and weakening of the tooth.  
  3. Decay.  When bacteria penetrate into a chip in your tooth, areas of decay can develop. Unless decay is spotted early on, it can quickly spread and affect the entire tooth, even passing onto neighboring teeth if left for long enough. Dental decay can result in the need for a filling or crown, or even end in tooth loss if you are unable to get it under control.
  4. Infections. Deep chips in your teeth can have an impact on the root of the tooth, exposing it to bacteria and putting it at risk of infection. When infections affect the root, a root canal may be needed to save the tooth.
  5. Sensitivity and bad breath. Patients who have considerable chips in their teeth are also more likely to experience issues such as tooth sensitivity and pain, as well as bad breath. 

The good news, however, is that chipped teeth are usually pretty straight forward for your dentist to repair. Minor chips can be filled with a dermal bonding material so that the tooth reverts to its regular appearance. Severe chips may require the patient to have a crown so that the tooth is protected from future infections and associated problems.

Call Us ASAP!

If you chip your tooth, call Santee Pediatric Dentistry at (619) 562-5437 right away! We’ll do our best to fit you in the schedule so you don’t have to experience any of the issues we talked about above.