Just because you know something happens to people “all the time,” doesn’t make it any easier to bear when it happens to you. So while we’re telling you that chipping a tooth is a very common dental injury—the most common, in fact, of all dental injuries–you’re still going to be caught a bit off guard if and when it happens to you or someone you love.
Like many things, though, being armed with a bit of knowledge can keep you in control. So keep reading, and save this article.
“My teeth are strong…how did this happen?”
While your enamel—or tooth covering—is the hardest tissue in your whole body (how about that!), impact to a tooth at a certain angle can create a chip, especially since that enamel is weaker around every tooth’s edges. It’s often comes down to a combination of circumstance and bad luck.
The most frequent causes of a chipped tooth include:
• Falling and hitting your mouth (upper front teeth, most often);
• Biting on a hard object or food (back teeth, most often);
• A sports injury or accident that results in facial trauma (think of hockey players); and/or
• A predisposition to weakness as a result of tooth decay.
“So what do I do?”
- Regardless of the size of the chip or how much it does or doesn’t hurt (many cause no physical pain at all), your first call should always be to a dentist. Make an appointment as soon as possible to avoid further damage. Your dentist will decide whether you need a simple smoothing and polishing; a filling, cap, or crown; or—in extreme cases, where the chip is painful and significant—a root canal.
- Right after the trauma, rinse you mouth with warm water; apply direct pressure to the area with clean hands and gauze to control any bleeding; use an ice pack on your face to ward off swelling, and cover the chipped tooth with dental wax, dental cement (both available at drugstores), or even sugarless gum.
- If the chip is significant or a whole tooth is displaced (and you can get to the dentist immediately), secure it under your tongue until you get to a professional. The traditional advice of keeping your tooth in a glass of milk is no longer recommended by most dentists.
- Avoid hard, crunchy foods until you see your dentist. You want to avoid creating any additional damage.
- Stay calm. Thanks to today’s materials, technologies, and know-how, your dentist is very likely be able to restore your smile to “as good as new” condition.
“How can avoid this in the first place?”
As mentioned above, bad luck can result in a cracked tooth regardless of circumstances. However, to put the odds in your favor:
- Be smart about what you chew and eat (crunching on ice, biting on hard candies, and chewing on pen caps, are bad news).
- Always wear safety equipment whether driving, riding on a bike or skateboard, or playing sports.
- Purchase a mouthguard for serious athlete. Custom-molded options (available from your dentist) are particularly beneficial, but even the drugstore-variety “boil and bite” options can work well.
“How much is this going to cost me?”
This is when having a dental savings plan from :DentalPlans is essential. Unlike with a dental insurance plan, one low, annual payment provides you and your family with substantial discounts on dental procedures–emergency and otherwise–all year long. Better still, there are no caps, hassles, pre-existing conditions, deductibles, or enrollment deadlines to worry about.
To learn more, call one of our amazing :DP AtYourService Customer Care Reps at 1-800-238-5163.