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What can cause cracks and chips in teeth?

02/23/11 COMMENTS 0

Chipped tooth smileYour tooth is cracked, or your tooth is chipped. What do you think of when you read these phrases?  Your first thought may be “Ouch!” but think a little more.  What do you think can cause a chip or crack?  Some of the answers may surprise you.  For example, did you know that teeth, like glass, can crack as a result of extreme temperature changes?  The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that “exposure of tooth enamel to temperature extremes, such as eating hot food and then drinking ice water,” can cause a crack.  There are several other possible causes and, in some cases, you may not even know a tooth is cracked.

Are you prone to chewing on things like pens, pencils, toothpicks, a necklace, or other items?  Maybe you do this because you are tense or anxious, or use it as a way to help you quit smoking.  Perhaps it’s a habit and you don’t even realize you are doing it.  Regardless of the reason for the chewing, it may have an unintended consequence: a chipped tooth.  The ADA advises against chewing on hard objects and suggests chewing sugarless gum, instead.

Many people assume that all foods are safe to chew.  However, that may not necessarily be the case.  Certain items, such as ice cubes, hard candy, or pretzels, can also lead to cracks or chips in the teeth.  Although you may enjoy chewing ice cubes or find it irresistible to chew hard candy, resist the temptation.  You will reduce the chances that you might unwittingly chip or crack your tooth.

Getting married?  If so, you may find that you are suddenly giving a lot of thought to your smile.  This is understandable given that you and your spouse-to-be will be the center of a great deal of attention on your wedding day.  In addition, you will appear in numerous photographs and you want your smile to reflect your best self.  Many brides and grooms plan a visit to the dentist prior to the wedding to get their teeth cleaned and many consider teeth whitening at this time.  If you have a chip or crack, this can be an excellent time to address it so that your smile will be at its best for the pictures.  The ADA notes that bonding, “a cosmetic procedure that uses tooth-colored materials that are attached or bonded to the tooth surface,” can be a solution for dealing with chips or cracks.

Do hot or cold foods cause you discomfort? You may assume it is one of those things that happen to everybody, but there are several things that could cause it.  A cracked tooth may be the culprit; there are other possible causes, including tooth decay, worn tooth enamel, and worn fillings.  If you are experiencing sensitivity to heat or cold, it is important to tell the dentist about it.  The dentist can do an exam, determine the cause of the problem, and offer you treatment.

If you suspect that your tooth is cracked or chipped, talk with your dentist immediately.  In addition to minimizing pain and further damage, you will be ensuring your continued oral health.  Moore Family Dental provides professional services in a comfortable environment to correct any dental issues.

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