A chipped tooth might seem like a greater problem, but having a broken molar can be just as painful & problematic
The enamel on your teeth is some of the toughest tissue in your body, but it’s still vulnerable to chipping and even breaking.
Falls, blows to the face, using your teeth to tear open plastic or other packaging, or even biting down on hard foods can all cause a broken tooth.
If you have a chipped tooth or even a broken tooth, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
Why Does a Tooth Break?
Teeth can break for a variety of reasons.
If you’ve fallen on your face, if you’ve received a blow or hit to the face, if you’ve used your teeth to rip open some kind of packaging (dentists will you to never do this but many of us do it anyways), or even if you have bitten down on something especially hard, you may break or chip a tooth.
Causes of a Broken Tooth
The causes of a broken tooth can vary, from injuries like a blow to the face or a fall to something less dramatic like biting down on an ice cube or piece of hard candy or other unyielding food, or even just grinding your teeth at night.
What Are the Risk Factors for a Broken Tooth or Chipped Tooth?
If you play a contact sport like football or hockey, then you should always wear a mouth guard.
You should also avoid biting down directly on ice or things like hard candy.
Never use your teeth for anything but actually chewing food, such as holding onto objects, tearing open packaging like snack bags or similar items, or opening bottles.
Also, keep in mind that if you’ve broken or chipped a tooth previously, that tooth will be more vulnerable and more likely prone to breaking in the future even after it’s repaired, so you’ll want to treat that tooth with extra care..
Cavities and other tooth decay can also weaken tooth enamel, and so can having heartburn or acid reflux, along with eating significant amounts of sugar or acidic foods like coffee, fruits and fruit juices, and spicy foods.
Acidic foods and stomach acids all break down the enamel and leave the surface of the tooth exposed and more likely to chip or break.
Individuals older than fifty are also more at risk for chipped or broken teeth since tooth enamel weakens with age.
Diagnosing a Broken Tooth
Determining whether or not you have a broken or chipped tooth is usually pretty obvious – there’s a piece of your tooth missing and the broken spot will be jagged or sharp, and you’ll probably be in some amount of pain.
You can feel a chipped tooth by running your tongue or finger over the suspected broken spot. The area around a chipped tooth may be extra sensitive to hot or cold.
If you think you broke a tooth, call your dentist immediately for broken or chipped tooth repair.
What Should You Do If You Have a Broken or Chipped Tooth:
If you have a chipped or broken tooth, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
It may take a day or even several days before you can manage to get an appointment, so in the meantime you should rinse your mouth, floss to get rid of any food particles that may aggravate the wound, and even use dental wax or temporary bonding material to keep the jagged edges of the wound from further irritating your mouth.
You can pick up these materials at your local drug store or pharmacy