Common Causes of a Chipped Tooth - Smile Dental Center

Enamel, the protective outer covering of each tooth, is one of the body’s strongest tissues but it’s not indestructible. Factors ranging from gradual wear to sudden trauma can cause enamel to crack or chip. When this happens, the softer dentin and pulp inside your tooth gets exposed, causing pain.

Chipped teeth are a fairly common injury, yet some people dismiss the issue. It’s important to seek dental treatment to preserve what’s left of the structure, avoid infection risks and maintain bite strength.

Potential Causes of a Chipped Tooth

The most common causes of a chipped tooth include:

  • Decay: Constant exposure to acids created by the bacteria in your mouth gradually weakens the enamel. Over time, a cavity may form or part of your tooth breaks off.
  • Trauma: A sharp, hard blow to the face can crack or chip a tooth. Damage may occur above or below the gumline. Car accidents, falls and sports injuries often apply the degree of force that can chip a tooth.
  • Poorly Aligned Bite: Misalignment between the upper and lower jaw places excessive wear and stress on certain teeth. With time, they erode and may crack.
  • Hard Objects: You may experience a cracked tooth from biting down on a fruit pit or hard candy, chewing on ice cubes or pen caps, or chronically biting your fingernails.
  • Teeth Grinding: Bruxism places excessive strain on the teeth, increasing risks for chips. Over time, a jagged appearance can develop over the tops of several teeth.
  • Fillings: If patients are given a large filling when a dental crown would have been more suitable, they might have weakened tooth structure. This increases the likelihood of a broken tooth, especially in response to decay, grinding or trauma.
  • Enamel Erosion: Lifestyle habits, like consuming acidic or sugary foods, or living with acid reflux can weaken the enamel and increase risks for a chipped or cracked tooth.
  • Age: A lifetime of habits and exposures can weaken your enamel and wear down your teeth. As such, patients over 50 are more likely to experience a chipped tooth.

Treatments for a Chipped Tooth

If you chip a tooth, see your dentist right away to prevent bacteria from spreading. Based on the cause and degree of damage, potential treatment options include:

  • Reattaching the tooth
  • Cosmetic bonding, ideal for covering and securing smaller chips
  • Veneers to camouflage smaller chips and cracks
  • Crowns, which cover the remainder of the tooth with a cap to preserve its structure and bite strength
  • Mouthguards, for those with a teeth grinding habit

Are you looking to restore the appearance and strength of a broken, cracked or chipped tooth? Schedule an appointment at Smile Dental Center today.