What Causes Teeth To Chip or Crack?

TeamDental Trauma

Chipped teeth are very common. Even though the enamel on natural teeth is incredibly strong, chips in teeth happen all the time. Common causes of chipped teeth include an injury to the mouth, biting down on a particularly hard piece of food, aging, and excessive wear and tear. In many cases, chipped teeth are not a cause for alarm. However, you will probably want to repair chipped teeth. Chips in your teeth can often be repaired quite easily with dental bonding.  Cracks in your teeth are a different story. Cracks can lead to pain and infection. Cracked teeth also typically require more involved dental procedures to repair. 

Causes, Symptoms, and Risks of Cracked Teeth

Cracked teeth require immediate dental treatment to prevent more serious problems from developing. Causes of cracked teeth include:

  • Genetic predisposition to weaker teeth
  • Sudden temperature change (cold food followed by a hot beverage, for example)
  • Stress
  • Grinding your teeth at night
  • Accident or injury
  • Biting down too hard on food
  • Weakened, existing filling
  • Tooth decay
  • Age
  • Problems with teeth alignment (crossbite, overbite, underbite)
  • Habitual ice chewing, gum chewing

Symptoms of Cracked Teeth

Cracked teeth may be visible or invisible. Cracks in your teeth may or may not cause any symptoms. When symptoms of an invisible crack in a tooth do arise, they include:

  • Toothache
  • Sensitivity to sweet, hot, or cold foods
  • Swelling in the gum around the tooth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Discomfort with no obvious cause

Risks of Cracked Teeth

Untreated cracked teeth can put your overall health at risk. This is because they can become infected. Cracked teeth can also lead to pulp damage, requiring a root canal to resolve. Signs of pulp damage or infection stemming from a cracked tooth include:

  • Bad breath
  • Facial/jaw pain
  • Sore/swollen glands in your neck
  • Swelling in your gums
  • Increased tooth pain
  • Increased sensitivity to temperature
  • Pus accumulation
  • Red gums

How To Prevent Chipping and Cracking Your Teeth

Some people naturally have weaker teeth than others. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about a family history of weak teeth. However, there are tips you can follow to reduce the likelihood or frequency of chipping or cracking your teeth.

  • Wear a mouthguard when playing sports
  • Avoid sugary foods that promote tooth decay
  • Seek treatment for teeth grinding
  • Reduce stress to prevent clenching your jaw
  • Avoid hard candies, foods, and ice
  • Avoid foods that produce a lot of acids (fruit juice, coffee, spicy food)
  • Practice excellent teeth and gum care
  • See your dentist regularly

Treatment for Chipped and Cracked Teeth

The best way to monitor your teeth for chips or cracks is by seeing your dentist twice a year for regular cleaning and exams. Small chips and cracks that are caught early can be repaired before turning into bigger problems. Chips and small cracks can often be treated the same day with resin (dental bonding), or even with a filling. More extensive chips or cracks may require a crown. If the pulp (interior) of your tooth has been damaged, you will need a root canal to remove decay and infection.  

Expert Dental Care in Little Rock, AR

Jones Family Dentistry has provided expert family dental care in Little Rock for more than 20 years. If you have a chipped or a cracked tooth, contact us today. In addition to children’s and family dentistry, Jones Family Dentistry provides complete cosmetic and restorative dentistry services including teeth whitening, dental implants, Invisalign, dental bridges, and porcelain veneers. Schedule an appointment today by calling  501-225-4555 .