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Discover the common reasons why your teeth might be chipping, what to do about it, and how to protect your smile moving forward

Many of us have those infamous dreams that involve tooth loss, and it’s always a relief to wake up and find that it was all in our heads.


But when it happens in real life – even in a minor way like with a small chip or break – it can be a scary experience.


If it happens due to a fall or other accident, identifying the cause is simple.

But if you claim my tooth chipped off for no reason, continuously practicing poor hygienic activities may chip your tooth or damage your enamel.

Besides, cavities promote enamel destruction and you may get a destructive tooth structure. 

It will be while eating or randomly in the middle of the night, chances are something’s going on underneath the surface that needs addressing.


And that’s what we’ll be talking about today.


Below, we’ll be diving into the common reasons why my teeth are breaking into pieces, what to do if it happens to you, and possible treatments your San Diego dentist may recommend to restore your smile.

Chipped teeth problems

Infection might occur if the crack in your tooth extends down to the pulp inside your tooth. Some of the signs of such an illness include


  •         discomfort while eating
  •         temperature sensitivities
  •         fever
  •         A foul odor or sour taste in the mouth
  •         inflammation of the glands in the face and neck


Why Are My Teeth Breaking? Some Common Reasons

If you get stuck thinking about your chipped teeth, then outside of accidents, the decreased amount of your saliva may lead to the drying of your enamel crystals.

The enamel, after getting dry becomes more brittle and is eaten away by tooth decay and cavities.

Chipped teeth can be a warning sign that you’re experiencing dental health issues that require immediate care.

One of the most prevalent causes of teeth chipping for no apparent reason is neglecting to practice good dental hygiene on a consistent basis. Enamel breakdown and degradation compromise the strength of teeth. 

The only time you might realize your teeth have changed is if one of them chips. Brushing twice daily for two minutes can reduce the likelihood of tooth chipping.

Symptoms of A Chipped Tooth 

After having the chipped tooth, you will encounter various symptoms, and it does not matter whether the chips are minor or major. The common symptoms are 


  • You may feel irritation in the gums around the chipped tooth 
  • When you run your tongue on your teeth, you may feel a jagged surface 
  • You will feel pain when you put pressure on your teeth during biting 
  • Feeling irritation in the tongue from catching it on the rough tooth surface

Let’s take a look at some of the common causes below:


1. Eating too Much Hard Food

The outer layer of your teeth, also called the enamel, is made to handle natural foods like vegetables, meats, fruits, and nuts. But hard foods are a totally different story. 


Chewing on things like cubed ice, hard candy, jawbreakers, and even your fingernails can cause serious damage to your dental health.


Although it may seem like your teeth can easily crunch through ice cubes or hard candy, the solid texture of these foods slowly weakens the integrity of your enamel.


Over time, the damage can reach a point where your teeth simply can’t handle the stress anymore…


And that’s when chips and teeth are breaking off.


So, if you find yourself habitually munching on ice cubes or hard candy, make it a point to stop as soon as possible. Your smile will thank you!


2. Grinding Your Teeth

Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is an involuntary habit that involves clenching and scraping your teeth together. Depending on its severity, this condition can cause toothaches, headaches, jaw pain, enamel erosion, and even broken teeth.


Grinding can be a natural reaction to stress and anxiety, or it can happen while you’re fast asleep. But the tricky part is, some people never experience any symptoms at all.


If you’ve chipped a tooth and you suspect you may have bruxism, look out for the symptoms listed above and contact your local San Diego dentist immediately.


3. Advanced Tooth Decay & Cavities

Generally, the majority of you have a dental ailment and ask your dentist why are my teeth breaking all of a sudden.


The more vulnerable your teeth are to tooth decay and cavities, and unhygienic oral practices the more likely you are to chip or break a tooth.


Besides these, when have teeth grinding an clenching habits, you may get broken teeth and it will impact your oral health. 


A chipped or cracked tooth can result from a cavity that was left untreated and allowed to reach an advanced stage.


This unpleasant chipped tooth pain can be caused by poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol, and tobacco consumption, or even acid reflux and heartburn – conditions that expose your teeth to stomach acids.


When an advanced cavity takes hold of your tooth, it eats all the way through the enamel and reaches the soft inner layer, called the dentin. 


This severe breakdown leaves your tooth incredibly weak and prone to cracks, chips, and breakage – not to mention tooth sensitivity and other potentially serious dental health issues.


The risk of cavities like these is one of the many reasons why daily dental care is so important. Proper oral hygiene can prevent plaque from building up on your teeth and getting out of hand.


4. Age-Related Wear & Tear

As we age, our body changes in many different ways, and that includes our dental health.


Your teeth are exposed to acidic foods and drinks every day, and over time our enamel naturally breaks down as a result.


Essentially, the older we get, the more likely we are to experience a chipped tooth because our enamel simply isn’t as strong anymore.


In fact, one study published just this year found that of the 893 patients observed, those who fell within the 45-54 age range were the ones who experienced cracked teeth most often.


Repair a Chipped Tooth

No matter how small the chip, crack, or break might seem, it’s crucial to seek emergency dental care as soon as possible.


If not, you risk damaging your tooth further by chewing, leaving it open to infection, and in extreme cases, even losing the tooth.


But these dental emergencies rarely happen at convenient times. There’s a good chance you may chip your tooth after hours or on the weekends when your local dentist is closed.


If for whatever reason you can’t seek medical attention, WebMD recommends these simple guidelines to care for your tooth in the meantime:

  • If you’re in pain, feel free to manage it with over-the-counter pain relievers until you can make it to the dentist. Just make sure to take them as directed!
  • Rinsing with salt water can also help with any pain and swelling.
  • If the chipped tooth has a sharp edge, you can put a piece of sugarless gum or paraffin wax over it to protect your tongue, lips, and cheeks from cuts.
  • If you need to eat, stick to soft foods and avoid chewing with the affected tooth.
  • For complete instructions on what to do if you lose a tooth, check out our blog: 7 Times You’ll Need Emergency Dental Care.

Chipped Tooth Treatment Methods to Restore Your Smile

Based on the severity of the situation, your San Diego dentist may recommend one of the following treatments for your chipped tooth:

  • Fillings – Fillings are an ideal solution for minor tooth chips that don’t leave any dentin exposed. Nowadays, many dentists offer tooth-colored fillings that blend in with the rest of your teeth, giving your smile a natural look.
  • Dental Bonding and Contouring Pliers DentalBonding and contouring is an excellent treatment for small cracks and chips. Using a tooth-colored resin, your dentist will fill in any spaces and contour the material to blend in evenly with the rest of your smile. And the best part? It usually only takes one visit and is one of the most affordable Cosmetic Family Dentistry treatments out there.
  • Crowns – Dental Gold Crowns are perfect for teeth that have a little too much damage for a filling to handle. Acting like a suit of armor, crowns restore the shape and function of heavily cracked, chipped, or eroded teeth.
  • Root Canals – Root scaling and planing are reserved for those cases that involve advanced cavities or severe breaks that lead to infection. During this treatment, your dentist will clean out the contaminated tissue, fill the tooth, and seal it to prevent further infection.

Self-Care for A Chipped Tooth 

Although you must visit your doctor to treat your chipped tooth until you get medical treatment, try to care for it properly. 

  • Try to place the sugar-free gum or temporary dental filling to protect your tongue from damaging
  • If you are feeling severe pain, it’s best to get a painkiller to avoid the excess pain
  • It is recommended to prevent chewing with chipped teeth 
  • After having a meal, floss your mouth to remove the sticky food on your teeth

Open for Emergency Dental Care Six Days Week

At Dental Express in San Diego, we know these accidents happen at the most inopportune times…

That’s why we make it easy to get the dental care you need when you need it.

As a family dentist, we stay open six days a week and accept walk-ins and same-day appointments.

If you ever have questions about a chipped tooth or other dental emergencies, you can always feel free to give us a call. Our office team is standing by to answer your dental health questions and provide whatever service you need.

Schedule your next appointment with Dental Express today. Here, your smile always comes first!

Keep Reading

7 Times You’ll Need Emergency Dental Care

Expert Tips for Taking Care of Your Tooth Fillings

Sensitive Teeth: Getting to the Root of the Problem

7 Things You Need to Know About Root Canals (Hint: They Don’t Have to Be Painful)