We brush our teeth, go to sleep and when we wake up something is off. Our tongue feels a sharp edge that was never there before. We look in the mirror and to our dismay, there is a piece of tooth missing. This is a dental chip. There are varying degrees of chips. Some can simply be polished away; others will need restorative dental work. Chips can make our smile unaesthetic, causing us to be self-conscious. Deeper chips can lead to discomfort and more complex dental procedures. It is important to learn how to prevent chips from occurring and how to best treat them when they do show up.
Prevention of Chipped Teeth
1. Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar, particularly sucrose, will act with bacteria in our mouths, like streptococcus mutans, to produce an acid that causes decay and weakens the enamel on our teeth. The enamel is very hard and allows us to chew our food and when it is undermined with decay it will chip.
2. Reduce Acidic Foods and Beverages
The acids from the foods will weaken the enamel, allowing for an increase in chip formation. Some examples of acidic food and drinks are soda, oranges, lemons, limes, wine, and tomatoes and tomato-based products.
Please note that fruits and vegetables have very beneficial effects on our overall health. We do not want these foods to be eliminated from your diet. We do want you to be cognizant of the acid that they contain, so rinse your mouth after eating or use a straw.
3. Never Chew Ice or Hard Candy
As strong as our enamel is, it is not made to withstand the forces of ice cubes or rock candy. You can eliminate this habit. It is best to suck the ice rather than chew it.
4. Never Use Your Teeth as a Tool
Do not open items with your teeth — use a scissor or a knife. Biting on plastic or cardboard is an express train to chipping your teeth.
5. Treat Acid Reflux
The acid from our stomach will weaken the enamel and make it susceptible to chipping.
6. Treat Bruxism
Bruxism, or the grinding or clenching of our teeth, especially when we are sleeping, is a major culprit in causing teeth to chip. If you experience issues with this, it’s best to wear a nightguard.
7. With Contact Sports…
Such as boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse, or basketball, to name a few, it’s best to wear a protective occlusal guard.
8. Get Proper Nutrition
Vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin K are essential.
9. Identify Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
- Oral Cancer
- Eating Disorders, specifically Bulimia
- Malaligned Teeth — when teeth come together or occlude in an improper manner, forces are not directed properly through the long axis of the tooth. Most likely, chips and cracks will occur.
Dr. Benjamin Ahn is our nationally renowned specialist in Invisalign, Clear Aligner, orthodontic therapy. Under his expert care, crooked smiles become harmonious and beautiful.
10. Get Proper Dental Care
Not getting proper dental care in terms of biannual cleanings, checkups, and correction of cavities and bite problems can lead to teeth chipping. Please visit us at 172 NYC Dental twice a year.
11. Conduct Proper Home Care
You must brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time with a small head, soft bristle brush. Non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste is best. Flossing once daily, preferably before bedtime, is ideal.
- For class 1 chips, which are very small — polishing an edge may be all that is required.
- For class 2 chips, which are moderate — bonded resin fillings work well.
- For class 3 chips, which are large — porcelain restorations such as onlay, veneers, and crowns solve the problem.
- Class 4 chips that invade the pulp chamber will require root canal therapy, cores, and crowns to bring the tooth back to an anesthetic functioning member of our mouth.
- Class 5 chips that fracture below the gum line may need extraction and placement of an implant, abutment or crown.
- Bi-annual checkups, cleanings, and fluoride treatments are great treatments for all kinds.
- Attending to all dental discrepancies, fillings, onlays crowns, night guards, and occlusal guards
- Preventative dentistry counseling, on brushing, flossing, and nutrition
- Invisalign, Clear Aligner, orthodontic treatments — not only do aligners create a beautiful smile, but they also prevent grinding, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, malocclusion, periodontal disease, chipping, and cracking.
Chip Treatment at 172 NYC Dental
All of these treatments are done by specialists at 172 NYC Dental in a coordinated, pleasant, and informed manner. We strongly believe in prevention. We treat our patients in the most conservative, caring, and efficient manner possible. Please do not hesitate to come in for a checkup and cleaning. If any work is needed, allow us to cosmetically correct any discrepancy before it becomes a problem. “A stitch in time saves nine.”