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Chipped, Cracked, Broken: What’s the Difference and What to do?

Chipped, Cracked, Broken: What’s the Difference and What to do?

Everyone wants a great smile. And, hey, this makes sense! After all, we display our smiles all the time. It’s one of the first things people notice about us when we meet them, and of course we want to be proud of the way it looks and feels. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 99.7% of adults in the U.S. say it’s critical for their smiles to be healthy and beautiful.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to feel confident about the state of your smile when you’ve got cracked, chipped, or damaged teeth. While these things may seem like simple cosmetic defects, they can damage self-esteem and self-perception, and many people believe that finding ways to get around them is critical. Fortunately, that’s possible, thanks to modern dentistry.

While a cracked or chipped tooth is a common dental accident, it can have devastating effects on the appearance of the smile. In this post, we’ll discuss the difference between chipped or cracked teeth, and how to handle each until you have a chance to get into your dentist’s office.

Chipped Tooth

Chipped Tooth

While many people believe a chipped tooth will be very painful or traumatic, that’s typically not the case. In fact, it’s possible to chip a tooth and not feel any pain at all. In most cases, people only feel pain if the chip in the tooth is big enough to expose the tooth is sensitive root or inner pulp material. In most cases, these chips begin on the end or the outer edge of a tooth and work their way in toward the center of the tooth.

The way that you address a chipped tooth depends in large part on the size and severity of the chip, as well as what caused it. If the chip is small, your dentist may be able to fill it and polish it, creating the appearance of a natural tooth easily and quickly. This is the ideal scenario. If the chip is too large for this, your dentist may need to add a cap, which will not only restore the function of the tooth but improve its appearance as well.

For very large chips, a root canal may be the only available fix.

Cracked Tooth

Cracked Tooth

Cracked teeth are different than chipped teeth in that they typically begin close to the gums and move out to the enamel, or outer film, of the teeth. When they’re severe, cracks can destroy the entire tooth, all the way into and beyond the root. While it’s possible to chip a tooth without ever feeling any pain, cracked teeth very often hurt. If you’ve noticed pain as you chew on one side of your mouth or another, it’s possible that you’re experiencing a cracked tooth.

Cracks can be complex to repair, so it’s critical to visit your dentist immediately after a crack takes place. If the crack is small, the dentist may be able to fix it by placing a resin into the tooth’s crack line. This will help hold the tooth together, and prevent the crack from getting any larger. If the crack is too big for resin, the dentist may add a tooth splint, which works just like a butterfly bandage: the dentist will choose a neighboring tooth (which is healthy and strong) and bind the damaged tooth to it. This will pull the crack together and begin the healing process.

As is true with a chip, a root canal will be required if the crack is severe enough that it has damaged the pulp of the tooth. The dentist may also consider placing a cap on the tooth.

How to Care for Chipped, Cracked, and Broken Teeth at Home

Although nobody wants to deal with chipped, cracked, or broken teeth, they do happen. Maybe you’re crunching a piece of ice, or some hard candy when you notice something wrong in your mouth. It’s an experience many people have had and know all too well.

Despite the fact that the enamel covering on teeth is the most mineralized and strongest tissue in the body, its strength does have limits. Because of these limits, there are many things that can cause broken teeth, and knowing how to deal with them when they do happen is essential. Here’s a simple breakdown on what to do when you suffer a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth.

Chipped and Broken Teeth

Chipped and broken teeth live in the same boat as far as care goes. If your tooth is broken or chipped, the first thing I wanted to do is see your dentist as quickly as possible. If you wait, the tooth could be damaged further or develop an infection, which could move into the bone of your jaw and cause you to end up in the hospital, or undergoing expensive dental treatment. While you wait to see your dentist, Try the following self-care approaches:

  • Take an OTC pain reliever. If a tooth is painful, take an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen or something similar. You can also rinse your mouth with salt water to cut down on swelling and inflammation and reduce the likelihood of infection.
  • Cover sharp edges. If the broken tooth has caused a sharp edge that’s cutting the inside of your mouth, cover it with a piece of dental wax or sugarless chewing gum. This will keep it from tearing up your tongue or the inside of your lip or cheek.
  • Eat soft foods. It’s possible that you Won’t even want to eat with a broken tooth, but if you do, focus on eating soft foods and chewing on the side of your mouth without the broken tooth.

Cracked Teeth

In some ways, caring for a cracked tooth can be even more disconcerting than caring for a chipped or broken tooth. In some cases, a cracked tooth won’t cause any immediate issues. It’s possible to have a very deep crack in a molar or other area of the tooth that just stays there, without getting larger, for an extended time. Molars are specifically vulnerable to cracks because they absorb most of the force associated with chewing.

As is true with chipped and broken teeth, the first thing you want to do when you discover a cracked tooth is to make an appointment with your dentist. The sooner, the better. In the meantime, there are few ways to take care of the tooth in the comfort of your own home. The first is to deal with any pain that might be present.

Do this by taking an over the counter pain reliever to reduce swelling and inflammation. You should also try to avoid chewing on the side of your mouth That has the crack, as biting can open the crack and irritate the soft tissue inside your mouth, which contains nerves and blood vessels.

If the crack is severe and has cut through more than just the enamel on your tooth, you’ll need immediate treatment to prevent deeper fractures or ongoing infection. In these cases, a dentist may recommend a root canal or a crown.

In some cases, depending on the location and severity of the crack, the doctor may be able to use filling material to repair the crack and stop it from getting worse. While these treatments are intense, they can help save your teeth in the event of a fracture. One final option is to have the entire tooth removed. This is only done when the tooth can’t be saved because the root of the tooth has been damaged.

Don’t Panic – Call Your Dentist

There’s no question about it: Few things are more alarming than discovering a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth. If this happens to you, be sure to call your dentist immediately. The dentist is your first stop when it comes to dealing with these dental issues, and will be able to help you devise a plan to keep your mouth healthy and happy for years to come, without suffering any negative effects of this unfortunate incident.

 

Are you dealing with a dental accident? Contact our team today for an emergency appointment, or some information on how to keep your teeth healthy moving forward

Dental Care and Your Kids, a How-to Guide

Dental Care and Your Kids, a How-to Guide

When it comes to keeping your kids happy and healthy, dental care is a critical part of the process. Understanding that children’s baby teeth need outstanding care is the first step to promoting good dental habits that will last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, while many parents want to care properly for their children’s teeth, they just aren’t sure how to do it. This leads to misunderstandings that can damage dental habits down the road.

Ideally, good childhood dental care should start as soon as a child’s first baby teeth erupt, and should continue building from there. When you take this approach, it’s easier to build healthy dental habits, and ensure that kids and parents know how to care for young teeth at every phase of life. Here’s your guide to helping your kids keep their mouths healthy, starting right now:

Kids and Cavities: What Parents Need to Know

The first thing parents think of when they think of children’s dental health is likely cavities. While general dental decay rates have been decreasing for many years, there’s been a recent increase in dental disease among children. According to research conducted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, overall dental decay in children ages 2 to 11 decreased between the 1970s in the mid-1990s.

However, from the 1990s to 2004 there has been a significant increase in dental decay among children of this age group. Keep in mind that dental health in children is linked closely to income, race, and access to dental care. Luckily, all parents can take proactive steps to help cut down on dental decay among children. While it’s true that cavities are increasing, there are steps parents can take to banish them from their own households.

Preventing Cavities and Dental Decay

Want to prevent cavities in your children? The first step is to ensure comprehensive, ongoing dental visits. Ideally, a child’s first visit to the dentist should occur within six months of the first tooth erupting in the mouth. While many parents have some anxiety about the first dental visit, it’s important to remember that you can hold your baby on your lap while the dentist examines him or her. This reduces Dental anxiety in both parents and children and allows the dentist to check the child’s mouth for signs of decay. As the child grows up, Dental Care Providers will be able to work with you to establish healthy habits for preventing dental decay, tooth loss, and other dental problems.

Modeling Healthy Dental Habits

While ensuring your child sees the dentist regularly is an important step on the road to prevention, it’s also essential to remember that you are the first role model your child has when it comes to dental health.

With this in mind, make good habits the priority in your household. Make it a point of brushing and flossing your teeth before bed with your children, and do what you can to make dental care fun.

For example, you may choose to invest in a toothpaste that leaves color on the teeth for the child to brush off, or for a mouthwash that features their favorite cartoon character. With children, incentivization is critical, and you may consider offering rewards for good dental habits or positive dental checkups. No matter what you have to do, remember that establishing healthy dental habits at a young age is the best way to ensure your child’s oral health throughout their life.

Bad Habits to Avoid

Good dental health is about what you do as much as it is what you don’t do. With that in mind, avoid these dental habits in your household:

  • Not brushing. Whatever you do, don’t skip the brush sessions at night. Good dental hygiene is a habit, and refusing to skip late-night brush sessions is one of the best ways to support this habit. With this in mind, be sure to incentivize brushing every night. If you see a child skipping brushing his or her teeth, remind them gently and offer an incentive for getting the job done.

 

  • Skipping dental visits. It’s impossible to maintain good oral hygiene if you’re not seeing the dentist on a regular basis. With this in mind prioritize Dental visits in your household. Even if you don’t understand completely how to care for your children’s teeth on your own, your dentist will be able to help you devise a plan for good oral hygiene that lasts a lifetime. What’s more, don’t be afraid to reach out to your dentist with dental questions between visits. They’re happy to help you establish good habits.

 

  • Eating sugary snacks. Sugary and sticky snacks can have a detrimental impact on the teeth. With this in mind, limit. Instead, focus on nutritional and delicious items like fruits, leafy greens, and more.

 

  • Opening things with the teeth. When a child gets a new toy, it’s understandable for excitement to take over. If that translates into your child ripping into the plastic with his or her teeth, though, there could be a serious issue. While the teeth are comprised of very strong biological material, they’re not a substitute for scissors, and children are likely to break, chip, or crack their baby or adult teeth if they start opening items with their teeth or biting into things they otherwise should not.

Good Dental Hygiene Starts Here

Dental hygiene is a family affair, and it’s much easier to promote good dental habits and kids if you model good dental habits yourselves. This is especially important when you have young kids around.

Because children don’t typically take charge of their own dental hygiene without learning it from adults, it’s essential to model good habits early and give kids the information they need to understand how best to care for their teeth.

By starting when children are young, you can create an environment of dental responsibility and health in your home.

Don’t forget the dentist are your best outlet and source of information when it comes to sharing for your children’s dental health. Reach out with questions you may have, or request for assistance on a regular basis. Your dentist will be happy to help you and ensure that you get what you need to care for your children’s teeth starting early.

Our Team Will be Your Partner in Childhood Dental Health

Want additional help keeping your children’s’ teeth healthy? Have questions that need professional answers? Don’t hesitate to contact our team today! We’re here to help you ensure good dental health for your kids today and in the future.

6 Tips to Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist

6 Tips to Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist

If your child is afraid of the dentist, you’re not alone. Many children experience some degree of “dental phobia,” and it makes sense! Given the bright lights and strange instruments in the dental office, it’s easy to understand why kids can find the experience so scary. With a little commitment and dedication, though, you can help your kids overcome their fear of the dentist.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Dental Fads you Should Avoid

Dental Fads you Should Avoid

How much time do you spend thinking about your teeth? If you’re like most people, the answer is “quite a bit.” With that in mind, you probably won’t be surprised by how many dental fads are out there. After all, almost everyone wants a whiter, stronger, more beautiful smile, and dental fads are the things that so often promise this exact outcome.

While dental fads may seem like they’re dedicated to improving your dental health and wellness and promoting a stronger, happier mouth, they can be very damaging and may do harm to your dental health overall.

With this in mind, we’re here to talk about why avoiding dental fads is so essential, and what you can do to care for your teeth, instead.

Let’s dive in.

Why Dental Fads are Bad

Wondering what’s wrong with dental fads, when we get down to it? The answer is simple: lots.

Like diet and beauty fads, dental fads often aren’t based on real information or science. This means that you may be putting your teeth at risk when you jump aboard a new dental fad. As such, following these guidelines without researching them independently can create a situation where you’re struggling to protect your teeth, or where you wind up accidentally harming their health and wellbeing.

4 Dental Fads to Avoid at all Costs

Dental Fads you Should Avoid

Oral care has evolved significantly in recent years. That evolution has created many prominent dental fads. Unfortunately, not all of these are good for your teeth. With this in mind, here are a few dental fads to avoid altogether, if you want your teeth to be as healthy as possible:

1. Brushing with Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

Brushing With Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

While you could brush with a whitening toothpaste, many people have ditched those formulas in recent years, in favor of what they claim is an all-natural whitening solution: lemon juice and baking soda.

Although each of these ingredients has been celebrated for their supposed whitening abilities, each can be very damaging for your teeth. Lemon juice, for instance, is a very acidic substance and may compromise your enamel over time. Baking soda, on the other hand, is very abrasive and can wear away the tooth surface under the damaged enamel.

With this in mind, stick with whitening toothpaste if you want a brighter smile.

2. Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been used for centuries as a way of keeping the mouth healthy and bacteria-free. For many years, oil pulling was a very reasonable method for keeping the mouth healthy. This is because there were few other options available, and oil pulling was a good way to banish bacteria and reduce the risks of dental decay.

Today, however, oil pulling is simply not a reasonable substitute for flossing, brushing, or mouthwash. An age-old traditional remedy, oil pulling has not been endorsed by the scientific community and will not whiten or protect teeth in the same way as modern dental care materials and tools.  

3. Rinsing with Hydrogen Peroxide

Rinsing with Hydrogen Peroxide

While it’s true that many modern whitening products, such as whitening strips, involve a great deal of hydrogen peroxide, it’s not smart to use peroxide on its own as an at-home whitening method.

While hydrogen peroxide has been approved by the American Dental Association for use in whitening products, using too much of it on its own can harm gums and dental tissue. With this in mind, stick with traditional dental products infused with safe levels of hydrogen peroxide.

4. Brushing with Charcoal

Brushing with Charcoal

Activated charcoal is an ingredient that’s popped up virtually everywhere in recent years. Used for everything from skincare to home nausea remedies, activated charcoal is touted for its supposed ability to draw toxins out of the body and mouth, thus whitening teeth, cleansing skin, and more.

Unfortunately, most of these claims are a bit overblown. As it stands now, charcoal in dental products has never been approved as safe or effective by the ADA, and may be toxic.

As if that weren’t enough, using activated charcoal on the teeth may have the opposite effect of what you’re looking for: making teeth appear more yellow by wearing away enamel and exposing the under layers of teeth.

5. Tooth Gems

Tooth Gems

Bedazzling was a major trend once popular for everything from jeans to purses. But it should stop at your teeth, don’t you think? Unfortunately, lots of people disagree and apply tooth gems (colored stones or gems) to their mouths! These stones are applied with powerful adhesives that, while removable, can ultimately damage or destroy enamel. Instead of applying “grills” or tooth gems to your mouth, take care of your teeth and trust that your beautiful, white smile will shine enough on its own.

4. Fluoride-Free Dental Products

Flouride Free Products

Fluoride has been used to strengthen and enhance teeth for years. Recently, however, it’s come under fire from critics who claim that fluoride is disruptive to natural hormone balances, and can cause chronic health conditions.

According to dentists and dental societies like the ADA, however, fluoride is a key component in dental products. Designed to prevent dental decay, make teeth stronger and less vulnerable to cavity-forming acids and components, fluoride is essential to good overall dental health.

5 Ways to Build Strong Teeth

While there are lots of things you want to avoid doing to your teeth, there are also several steps you can take to care for them and keep them strong and healthy.

With that in mind, follow these five tips to promote good dental health:

1. Brush Your Teeth Before Bed

As a general recommendation, dentists state you should brush at least twice daily. Despite this, many people forget (or neglect) to brush their teeth at night. As it turns out, though, this is one of the most important times to brush your teeth. In addition to leaving your mouth clean and fresh for an extended sleep, brushing at night gets rid of all the plaque and bacteria that built up in your mouth during the day.

2. Brush Properly

You brush your teeth every day, but are you doing it properly? If you’re brushing poorly, you may as well not be brushing at all. Here’s a breakdown of how to do it effectively: take your time while you brush your teeth. The toothbrush should move in gentle, circular motions designed to remove plaque and keep the mouth clean. Don’t brush hard enough to bloody gums or cause pain.

3. Brush Your Tongue

Every time you brush your teeth, remember to brush your tongue, as well. The reason for this is simple: plaque can build up on the tongue, as well, and will collect in the grooves and valleys of the tongue, over time. To prevent this and keep your mouth and breath fresh, brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth.

4. Use Fluoride Toothpaste

When it comes time to choose toothpaste, look for one that contains fluoride. A critical element in maintaining good dental health, fluoride fights germs that lead to dental decay and helps create a strong barrier that protects your teeth for years to come.

5. Treat Flossing as Essential

Many people who brush their teeth routinely neglect flossing just the same. Unfortunately, this is a troublesome approach that can lead to trouble down the road.

If you don’t floss your teeth when you brush, tiny particles of food get stuck between the teeth, leading to decay, cavities, and bad breath. Fortunately, flossing can remove these things. Additionally, flossing stimulates gums and keeps the mouth healthy.

Stick to Traditional Methods to Keep Your Mouth Healthy

When it comes to good dental health, sticking to the tried-and-true is often the smartest approach. Although dental fads can seem convincing, it’s important to remember that they’re frequently breathless claims, rather than actual science.

 

Want to learn more about how to care for your teeth? Contact our team to book your first appointment today.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Mouth in Shape

5 Tips for Keeping Your Mouth in Shape

If you’re like most people, you don’t think about your teeth much until they hurt or there’s something wrong. Unfortunately, that can create ongoing problems like cavities, dental decay, and gum disease! Don’t worry, though – there are lots of simple things you can do to keep your mouth in tip-top shape.

Here are a few easy points to begin with:

Let us help you keep your mouth in great shape, call us today!