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Why Are My Teeth Chipping All of a Sudden?

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)

How Do You Fix a Chipped Tooth?

chipped tooth San Diego

Cracked or chipped tooth, or severe toothaches, require the expertise of an emergency dentist. At Dental Express in San Diego, CA, we can provide urgent dental care when our patients need us most. We can treat your dental problem quickly to relieve pain or discomfort. While some instances can wait until regular office hours, many situations warrant the need for around-the-clock care.

When you suspect that you need emergency dental care, don’t hesitate to call our office. If you are in pain, immediate treatment, which is usually quick and easy, will help. Leaving a chip untreated can lead to increased pain or infection, and heighten the need for more serious and costly procedures, like extractions. If you are not experiencing intense pain, you probably don’t require our emergency dental services. Just avoid chewing on the tooth until you can get to our office.

How does a dentist fix a chipped tooth?

Regardless of whether or not there is pain associated with teeth chipping, it should be treated as soon as possible. At Dental Express in San Diego, CA, we perform comprehensive dental exams to assess the damage from the chip. From there, we can determine the best treatment option for your oral health. This will aim to restore your smile.

To choose the best treatment choice for you during emergency dental care, our emergency dentist will use x-rays to evaluate and diagnose the problem accurately. Once we understand the extent of your emergency, we can discuss which treatment options are available to you.

Emergency dental care treatment options

Depending on the size of the chip and your existing oral health, our professional team may recommend one of the following:

  1. Cosmetic Dental Bonding and Contouring: To repair small chips and to completely seal a tooth, dental bonding can be done. Composite resin is used to reshape a tooth to look natural. Several layers of resin will be used to match the shape and size of your existing teeth. UV light is used to harden the material. After the tooth looks good, our emergency dentist will polish it, resulting in a smooth appearance.

  2. Crowns: When a large piece of the tooth breaks off, or the tooth has severe decay, we may choose to file a portion of the tooth away and cover it with a crown. The crown is custom-made to fit over your existing tooth according to your bite. It will require two visits to our office. In the first visit, we will remove the decayed part of the tooth and place a temporary crown. During the second visit, we will remove the temporary one and place the final restoration. Adjustments are made to accommodate your bite, so it feels natural.

  3. Porcelain veneers: For individuals who have many aspects of their smile that they don’t like, veneers may be a good choice. Porcelain Teeth Veneers are thin shells that are adhered directly to the front of the teeth. They are custom-made to make a smile look natural and to instantly improve Cosmetic Dentistry Grants concerns. In terms of emergency dental care, they aren’t usually included and can be addressed at a future visit.

  4. Root canal therapy: When a chip or crack is large enough that it exposes the pulp, a root canal is required. Root canal therapy at Dental Express in San Diego, CA is performed by removing the dead material and thoroughly cleaning the canals of the tooth. The remainder of the tooth is covered with a crown to seal it off and to protect, what is now, a weak tooth.

Treat your chipped tooth pain with an emergency dentist

At Dental Express in San Diego, CA, we specialize in emergency dental care. We want all of our patients to know that we are available to help relieve them of any chipped tooth pain or discomfort related to a dental issue. Our goal as emergency dentists is to restore your smile with various treatments. To learn more about our emergency dental care services and to schedule an appointment, call our office today.

Typical Sources Of Tooth Pain And How You Can Treat It

Common tooth pain causes

Dental discomfort should be evaluated as early as possible by a qualified primary dentist regardless of if you experience a persistent toothache or an occasional issue. Several oral issues and factors may lead to a tooth pain. Thankfully, the qualified, dedicated team at Dental Express in San Diego, CA is prepared to identify the cause of your toothache and provide relief through effective treatment.

Dental discomfort may fluctuate from mild to severe and might be the result of many circumstances or issues. Any instance of oral discomfort needs to be examined by a dentist, even in cases when it is bearable. Pain in any tooth is not normal and is a sign that there is a factor impacting the health of your teeth. Tooth discomfort could affect your quality of life in multiple ways, and it may develop in the form of a minor or dull ache, pulsating, severe, or stabbing pain, or sensitivity due to stimuli, such as warm or cold temperatures.

Considering that tooth pain can progress, it is imperative that you seek care from an experienced San Diego, CA dental professional as soon as you can for an assessment and to discover more about your various procedure options. Emergency dental services might be needed to eliminate pain and restore the health and wellness of your mouth. Read on to learn about the most common reasons for tooth pain and the treatment options typically utilized to diminish discomfort and boost your dental health.

A blow to the mouth, even in less severe circumstances, could cause damage to your teeth and ultimately bring about pain or discomfort. Oral damage can occur from contact sports, collisions, and slipping and falling, among other sources. This type of dental discomfort can be caused by fractured or chipped tooth pain that expose the internal, more tender areas of the tooth, avulsed (knocked-out) teeth, or partly avulsed (extruded) teeth. Even teeth grinding, known as bruxism, can wear through the enamel of the teeth, reaching the deeper layers that are closer to the nerve center and bring about pain. When an injury, incident, or persistent condition has damaged your teeth in some way, seek help from our San Diego, CA dentists for help in reinstating comfort back to your smile. Restorative and reconstructive dental services may be suggested to return wellness and functionality to your teeth and gums.

Chronic or pulsating toothaches commonly signal an underlying problem or condition impacting the middle, also known as the pulp, of a tooth. When bacteria find their way into this layer through cracks or areas of tooth decay, swelling and infection often occur. In some cases, this infection migrates internally through the tooth roots and within the bone, leading to an abscess in the jaw. Tension from this buildup of infection often causes tooth pain, discomfort upon biting, or gum and jaw inflammation, which can also be painful. The common treatment for this oral issue is a root canal. If you don’t receive effective dental treatment, inflamed or infected teeth are at a higher risk of requiring extraction and place your oral and entire health in danger.

Men and women who seek treatment at Dental Express in San Diego often complain about tooth sensitivity. Although teeth might become sensitive because of a range of reasons, the most frequent culprit is dentin hypersensitivity, or vulnerable root surfaces. Different from the crown portions of teeth, the roots do not have the defensive covering of enamel and have narrow tubules, which send the sensitivity of stimuli straight to the nerve control area of the tooth. Eating or drinking a substance that is warm or cold can bring a shock-like feeling to the mouth that is uncomfortable and typically painful. The roots could become unprotected to the oral environment because of a number of problems, the most common of which is periodontal disease. Our San Diego, CA team can decrease tooth sensitivity with specific toothpaste, fluoride treatments, and even procedures to protect exposed roots.

Even though not all cases of tooth decay are painful, cavities that extend into the inner layers of a tooth do often lead to some level of pain. Sections of tooth decay may also have more sensitivity to temperature fluctuations in the mouth while enjoying warm or cold foods or drinks, as well as excessively sugary or sweet foods. If not properly treated, tooth decay can lead to even more discomfort if the cavity reaches the inner portion of the tooth and produces an internal disease, or in some cases, an abscess. Seeking the care you require from a knowledgeable dental professional early on could help diminish your oral pain and initiate enhancements to your oral health. Cavities are often treated with fillings or dental caps and crowns, depending on the size of the affected area.

As a frequently difficult to diagnose problem, cracked tooth syndrome may display with uncomfortable symptoms; however, there may not be any obvious or noticeable impairment to the tooth structure. Small micro-cracks in the enamel could allow bacteria to enter the center part of the tooth and lead to sensitivity or discomfort. Teeth can also feel pain when chewing because of flexure in the tooth structure. The treatments for cracked tooth syndrome differ but could range from the placement of a crown to root canal therapy or other approaches.

Dental discomfort is nearly always a symptom of a deeper problem and should always be assessed early on to ensure ideal outcomes for your oral health. Though symptoms can range from moderate to intense, tooth pain commonly indicates a dental emergency and might warrant immediate treatment to protect your tooth structure and minimize the possibility of tooth loss. Our dedicated team at Dental Express in San Diego, CA is pleased to provide a variety of dental treatments, including urgent dental care, to diminish your tooth discomfort and minimize its effects on your smile and overall well-being. If discomfort is impairing your dental health, call our practice today to schedule a consultation with our friendly and experienced dentists.

Common Causes Of Severe Tooth Pain

Common Causes Of Tooth Pain
Common Causes Of Tooth Pain

Causes of Toothache 

People get toothache because of various reasons, and the most common among them are, 

  • Cracked tooth 
  • Hum disease
  • Cracked tooth 
  • Tooth grinding and clenching 
  • Abscessed tooth 
  • Any kind of damaged dental restoration

Common causes of severe tooth pain: Drinking a cold glass of lemonade or enjoying an ice cream treat is a refreshing way to get relief from the summer heat… until contact with that cold delicacy causes a stabbing, throbbing pain to shoot through your tooth. There are many different tooth pain causes. Only a dentist can determine if the problem is caused by a sensitive tooth, a cavity, or something more extensive such as an abscess or infection. Following are some of those common culprits:

Cavity Pain

Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth pain and causes severe tooth decay pain. A cavity can cause sensitivity to hot or cold food. While toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help, if the pain continues, you may have deep decay that has spread to the tooth’s pulp. Speak with your dentist and keep regular appointments to get help for cavities.

How Cold Sensitivity is the Common Reason for Tooth Sensitivity?

The enamel is made of dentin and is damaged or starts eroding for various reasons, including gum recession, tooth decay, and many other dental damaging factors. Individuals have this protective covering naturally but once the dentist loses its strength, the tooth surface starts to erode which results in making your tooth surface sensitive to cold and hot foods.

Sensitive Teeth

Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold foods may have tooth decay, worn tooth enamel, or an exposed root. When the tooth’s protective layer of enamel erodes, dentin – the bony tissue of the tooth – is vulnerable, making teeth sensitive.

Chipped Or Cracked Teeth

A sharp, searing pain (sometimes described as an “electric shock” ) could indicate a cracked or chipped tooth pain. Cracked teeth are caused by accidents, injuries or from chewing on hard objects such as ice. See your dentist for help with tooth injuries.

A Loose Filling

A sharp pain when biting down on food can indicate a loose filling, and this can also cause severe toothache.

Infection / Abscess

When the root of the tooth is infected, it can develop an abscess. This can cause a tooth to feel “hot” due to inflammation that agitates the nerve. Depending the extent of damage, a root canal pain treatment may be needed to repair the tooth. An untreated infection can become serious if it spreads to the jaw bone or other neighboring tissues.

Dental Work

Sometimes teeth are sore or sensitive after dental surgery or dental treatment. Be sure to speak with your dentist before any procedures so you will know what to expect and what to do if you are experiencing unrelieved pain.


Bruxism is the medical term for grinding teeth. Many adults may grind their teeth when they sleep, causing a dull ache in the jaw and upper teeth. Bruxism can wear away tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities or cracked teeth. A dentist can create a customized mouthguard to protect teeth while sleeping.

How to Stop Electric Shock Feeling in Tooth?

Need Tooth Pain Relief?

The easiest way to treat tooth pain is to avoid it. Regular dental checkups can keep your smile healthy and help you avoid some of the complications—and pain— caused by tooth decay. If you do have severe tooth pain, see your dentist as soon as possible because timely intervention can help avoid more costly dental work later.

Dental Express offers dental care for the entire family, including SmileCorrect, implants, emergency dental care and maintenance services. Our practice features compassionate care coupled with state-of-the-art dentistry at four convenient locations in San Diego: Downtown, Point Loma, Clairemont and Santee. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.