Chipping and cracking teeth can range from a minor cosmetic issue to a major emergency, depending on the severity of the injury. It’s also usually preventable, if you can avoid these common causes.
Playing Sports without a Mouthguard
Any kind of zestful exercise can put your teeth at risk. Whenever a bunch of people are running around together, there is a risk of collisions and tripping, which can lead to falls that will chip your teeth. This includes everything from a football to a pickup game of basketball. Remember, even sports that are supposedly noncontact come with a surprising amount of contact. Whenever you are playing sports, you need to protect your teeth.
Car accidents can cause serious damage to your teeth. Ideally, modern restraint systems should protect your face and mouth from damage in an accident, but they don’t always. There’s even a risk that certain types of secondary restraint systems (airbags) can cause tooth damage, especially if they’re defective, old, or poorly designed.
Getting Your Tongue or Cheek Pierced
Oral jewelry can chip or crack teeth. It’s a foreign object, usually made of metal, moving around in your mouth, and it’s likely to cause damage to your tooth enamel. You can limit damage by not playing with the piercing. You can also try different types of jewelry–smaller pieces are less likely to cause chipping. Oral piercings can also lead to receding gums. The best solution is to remove piercings.
Chewing on Non-Food
Chewing on hard, non-food objects can do serious damage to your teeth. This includes things you might think are food, such as ice and popcorn kernels, which have the potential to cause serious damage to your teeth. Don’t put nonfood objects in your mouth!
Using Your Teeth as Tools
Your teeth are designed for a few specific jobs: eating, talking, and smiling. They’re not designed as scissors, bottle openers, or pliers. Using your teeth as tools can cause serious damage to not just your teeth, but also your jaw. How serious is this? Neanderthals used their teeth as tools, and now they’re extinct!
Having a Bad Bite
If you have an imbalanced bite, some of your teeth are subjected to much greater force than your other teeth. Sometimes, you might know there’s a problem because you can see how your crooked teeth bite down unevenly. Other times, you might think you have a good bite, but there’s actually a problem, and you may not notice it until it’s too late. Fortunately, your dentist should be able to see the signs.
Clenching and Grinding Teeth (Bruxism)
Clenching and grinding your teeth can cause them to crack. Sometimes this is minor cosmetic cracks (called craze lines). Other times the cracks are more serious. Why do people clench and grind their teeth? Could be habitual. Other times, it’s related to stress. In some cases, having a bad bite can make your muscles strain to find a comfortable rest position. If your teeth are in the way, you will clench and grind until you crack, chip, or wear them down.
Getting Large Cavities
If you develop a large cavity, it weakens your teeth. If you don’t notice the decay or get it fixed, it can put your tooth at risk of cracking open.
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body. Initially, we have a strong, thick layer of enamel. However, if you consume a lot of acidic foods and drinks, the acid can chemically erode your enamel. Thin enamel is vulnerable to chipping and cracking.
Fixing Cavities with Metal Amalgam
Sometimes even fixing a cavity can put your tooth at risk, if you use the wrong kind of material Metal amalgam may be serviceable in many circumstances, but it can also put your teeth at risk. Metal amalgam weakens the tooth, both when it’s placed and over time, which means you may suffer a broken tooth as a result.