Many of our patients come in with broken teeth and wonder why it happened. Even though we may have some answers in mind, sometimes the best way to answer a question like this is to ask you a few questions of our own to determine what could have happened. Sometimes we ask:
Do You Have Any Bad Habits?
Parafunctional habits of the teeth are very common and can break even the best enamel. Gnawing on pens and pencils, biting the edges off of fingernails and crunching on ice are all nervous habits that can crack pieces of tooth and leave you with expensive dental treatment. Other bad habits include drinking acidic beverages like soda and citrus juices too often and eating hard or sugar filled candies. These products strip your teeth of protective minerals and weaken the outer layer. If you can’t shake that soda habit just yet, read about ways you can help reduce the damage in this blog post.
Is Your Bite Well Adjusted?
Although having a uniform and cosmetically appealing set of teeth is the ultimate goal for most people, we usually suggest braces for people whose teeth just aren’t working well together. A problem with improper alignment includes chronic damage to the jaw and the teeth within. Imagine your premolars doing the work of a molar because of a crooked tooth or crossbite. Since they aren’t meant to withstand the daily pressures of eating, fractures and broken pieces are bound to happen.
Do You Take Great Care of Your Teeth?
Even the strongest natural teeth won’t last a lifetime if you don’t give them the right attention. Decay is a leading cause of broken teeth. When the hard outer shell of our teeth succumbs to plaque and food acids, a cavity is formed. Brushing twice a day will remove the bacteria on the surface of your teeth and flossing once per day will prevent infections and cavities below the gumline where aggressive bacteria tend to hide. Eating healthy foods and staying hydrated will give your body and saliva the ingredients it needs to repair minor damage caused by everyday attacks on enamel. Another really important element of great home care is getting to your hygienist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning.
Are You Taking Any Medication?
Unfortunately, some adults are prescribed medications that cause dry mouth. Changes in your saliva’s mineral content can have negative impacts on your teeth, which depend on constant hydration. Blood pressure medications, prescriptions for diabetes, anxiety, allergies and arthritis are just a few examples of commonly noted drying agents. Drinking more water, although highly recommended, may not be enough to combat this problem. If we’ve discovered this is the only risk factor for your teeth from the above questions, it might be time to start a fluoride therapy or talk to your doctor about more options.
Chipped teeth might not seem like more than a slight annoyance, but we know that it could be a sign of bigger problems. If you notice your teeth chipping more lately but can’t figure out why, it’s time for a consultation and personalized treatment plan.