Teeth are durable, but they can break when weakened or exposed to a significant impact. Weaknesses can be caused by decay or cavities that have not been filled. Impact can be the result of biting down on a popcorn kernel or chewing a piece of ice.
A small chip in your tooth might not seem like cause for concern, especially if the chip is in a molar and not highly visible. Overlooking a chipped tooth could lead to more significant dental problems down the road.
Your mouth is filled with soft tissue that could be damaged when a tooth is chipped. Chipped teeth can have sharp edges that might cut the interior of your cheek, your tongue, or your gums. These cuts can be extremely painful.
Oral cuts also act as a gateway for the bacteria within your mouth to enter your body's bloodstream and spread infection. Treating a chipped tooth right away will reduce the risk of having the damaged tooth's sharp edges cut your oral tissues.
The enamel of a tooth that has been chipped is compromised. This makes it easier for food, bacteria, and other contaminants to find their way through the enamel and into the pulp of the tooth. Contaminants can lead to serious tooth decay.
Fixing a chipped tooth as quickly as possible will help to seal off any potential access to a tooth's pulp. This will prevent the formation of cavities and stop a chipped tooth from experiencing sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages.
A chipped tooth rarely breaks cleanly. Small fissures exist around the chipped area. These fissures can easily widen and begin to form cracks in the surface of the tooth. Cracks that extend into the root of the tooth could be very painful. A root canal might be needed to address any fracture-related damage.
If the fractures are severe enough, your dentist might even have to pull the tooth and replace it with an implant. The sooner you are able to have your dentist repair a chipped tooth, the lower your risk of the tooth fracturing will be.
A chipped tooth might not seem like a dental emergency at first glance, but a chipped tooth can quickly become a serious oral hazard if not repaired by a general dentistry clinic quickly. Don't let the negative side effects of a chipped tooth compromise your oral health in the future.