With the summer, everyone loves to get out and enjoy the sun. This is great for our weight, helps keep our hearts healthy, improves our mood, and increases our body’s supply of vitamin D, which is crucial for our teeth and bones.
But there’s one downside for our teeth when it comes to being more active: chipped, cracked, and even knocked out teeth increase significantly during summer months. If you just knocked a little chip off your tooth, you might not think it needs to be looked at. But it’s crucial to have a chipped tooth evaluated, even if you think it’s a minor injury.
A minor chip might seem like it’s not a big deal, but it can have a significant impact on the appearance of your smile. And your smile, in turn, is a big part of the impression people get from you, especially when meeting for the first time. More than your clothes, and more even than what you say, people will remember your smile from a first encounter. So if your chipped tooth is at all visible, it’s worth finding out what treatment option, such as dental bonding or porcelain veneers, might be right for you.
When you chip a tooth, you reduce the insulation between the nerve inside the tooth and changes in temperature in your mouth. This can make your tooth more sensitive to hot and cold beverages and foods. You might find that you’re experiencing significant pain just from eating slightly warm or cool foods. The discomfort may even linger.
Sharp to the Tongue
Another painful problem with a chipped tooth is that it can be sharp to your tongue. You might experience pain every time you touch your tooth with your tongue, or, because your chewing is off (see below), you might be more likely to bite your tongue.
In order to be able to bite and chew effectively, our teeth have to contact precisely. A chip changes the way your teeth fit together. Where your teeth might have been making solid contact, the contact can be skewed to one side or another. This not only makes it harder to chew, it can also cause your tooth to drift.
Decay and Infection
If your tooth gets chipped, it becomes more vulnerable to decay, and even infection. The chipped area may collect food debris or plaque, and it can be harder to brush.
Decay will also be sped up if you chipped away the enamel, exposing the yellowish layer of dentin underneath. Dentin is not as resistant to decay as your enamel.
Think of it this way: would you rather get a little filling now, or a root canal later?
Injury More Serious
And, of course, there’s the possibility that the injury to your tooth is a lot more serious than you initially thought. All you might see is the chip, but forces that are strong enough to chip your tooth are also strong enough to potentially dislodge the tooth, displace it, or injure the blood supply to the nerve. The result could be a discolored tooth, an infected tooth, or even a lost tooth.
But if you get your tooth treated quickly, splinting can often save jeopardized teeth.