A chipped tooth is a real threat to your dental health. Delaying or skipping repairing the chipped tooth will only cause you more pain.
After chipping your tooth, you may initially be concerned about the way it looks or feels, but not recognize its threat to your dental health. Unfortunately, even the smallest chip has the potential to cause additional damage and impact your oral health. When a chip occurs, your tooth actually loses a piece of its shield, the enamel, leaving it exposed to the elements. The chip can also weaken the overall structure of your tooth, leading to further damage in the future. As a result, it is unwise to delay repairing your chipped tooth, no matter how minor the initial damage.
Loss of a Protective Enamel Shield
When your teeth lose a portion of their enamel, the dentin and pulp are left exposed to potentially damaging elements and mechanical stressors. At its bulkiest point at the crown of your teeth, enamel is only about 2.5mm thick. Along the sides, the enamel is much thinner. As a result, even the smallest crack along any area of your tooth is likely to expose the inner dentin layer. Since it is a much softer material, dentin does not have the ability to shield itself from potential damage, which accelerates cavity development and other complications.
Exposure to Harmful Substances
When dentin is exposed to acidic waste produced by bacteria, a cavity starts to form. The cavity will continue moving deep into your tooth until it reaches the pulp and root. If this happens, you will likely need a root canal to rectify the problem. If you delay treatment for this complication, your Little Rock dentist may recommend a tooth extraction and replace your tooth with a dental implant.
Exposure to acidic foods and beverages can also have a damaging effect on your remaining enamel and dentin. If you consume highly pigmented substances like coffee, tea, and soda, the chipped tooth will likely develop stains far faster than adjacent teeth due to this direct route to the dentin layer.
Risk of Additional Damage
Your tooth is also susceptible to other chips and cracks due to this chink in its armor. Eating hard foods, grinding your teeth, and playing sports normally puts your teeth at risk of damage. With a chip complicating matters, your tooth is even more likely to develop cracks, especially along the edges of the chip. The cracks in your teeth may even be too small to see with the naked eye or even with x-rays, at first. Over time, the cracked area will allow the same damaging substances to eat away at the dentin and accelerate the damage to the tooth. If the crack suddenly opens up, a large piece of your tooth could break off, which often necessitates surgical extraction of the remaining structure to prevent the development of a serious oral infection.
If you have been putting off repairing a chipped tooth, schedule an appointment at Arkansas Family Dental today by calling 501.683.8886.