A chipped tooth can cause major cosmetic issues for a smile, but more severe chips can also threaten oral health. Fortunately, cosmetic and restorative treatments are available to eliminate or conceal chips of any severity. Here is a deeper look at chipped teeth along with their causes, symptoms, and treatments at our Houston office.
Causes of Chipped Teeth
Teeth can be chipped because of physical trauma originating inside or outside of the mouth. For example, a car accident may force a tooth into a hard surface, causing a chip to break away. Biting down on ice, popcorn kernels or other hard foods can also chip a tooth. In some cases, a chipped tooth results from milder trauma, such as teeth grinding, because the enamel was previously weakened by diet, decay, or other factors.
Chipped Teeth Symptoms
The cosmetic results of a chipped tooth can be significant, causing patients to feel self-conscious about their smile and less motivated to care for their teeth. Deeper chips may also expose the tooth to infection if they breach the outer tooth layers. Less extensive chips, however, can also raise oral health risks by increasing the likelihood of decay. This risk rises partly because the chip creates a basin where plaque can build up. At the same time, the loss of protective enamel weakens the tooth against sugar and acids.
Treatment for Chipped Teeth
Several treatments for chipped teeth are available from Dr. Nazari at our office in Houston. For very mild chips, reshaping can be a solution. Dental bonding can be used to fill in spaces that have chipped away. When more extensive chips occur, veneers or crowns may be recommended. Veneers can conceal chips at the front of teeth and will protect against further damage. Crowns can cover chips on any side of a tooth, are sturdier than veneers, and offer more concealment.
If you suffer a chipped tooth, you should rinse your mouth with salt water and schedule an appointment with our emergency dentist in Houston as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can use anti-inflammatory drugs and ice to reduce pain, and cover the tooth with dental cement or sugar-free gum for protection until it is treated.
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