One small chipped tooth is a cosmetic nuisance. It interrupts the line of your smile, and can create an irregular black spot in which should be a uniform front of white enamel. But if chipping continues, it becomes not just a worse cosmetic problem, it can become a more serious health danger. Chipping teeth can become cracked teeth, which can expose the interior of the tooth, making them sensitive and possibly opening them up to infection.

So if you are experiencing numerous chipped teeth, it’s time to take action. Here are some things that you can try to protect your teeth from chipping.

Close up portrait of healthy smiling woman with green apple.

Strengthen Enamel

Tooth enamel should be the hardest substance in the body, but it may not be hard enough in your case. For some people, the problem is genetic or developmental. You might have a family history of chipped teeth, which might mean that there’s little you can do–your teeth might just be vulnerable to chipping.

But there are also some things you can try. First, try to protect your teeth from acid attack. Acid steals minerals from your enamel, making it weaker and more likely to chip. So cut back on acidic foods and drink like coke or wine. If you have acid reflux or other causes that could expose your teeth to stomach acid, talk to your doctor about treatment.

It’s also important to make sure your teeth are getting proper minerals. Part of this means eating a balanced diet that contains the minerals teeth need. But it also means addressing dry mouth. Make sure you’re not dehydrated, and try to cut back on habits like smoking or vaping that can lead to dry mouth.

Stop Bad Habits

Of course, your teeth might be chipping because they are being put in situations they can’t handle. We describe these as “parafunctions,” or asking teeth to do things they’re not meant to do. Common parafunctions include chewing on nonfood objects or using your teeth as tools.

If you have a tendency to chew on nonfood objects, such as pens, pencils, clothes, or fingernails, it could be contributing to your chipped teeth. This includes ice–which is not only hard, but cold, which can make your enamel brittle.

Your teeth can also be chipped by using them to act as pliers, scissors, or bottle openers. When you need a tool, get the tool, and don’t depend on your teeth to grip, tear, or cut in these situations.

You might think this isn’t the problem because your teeth don’t chip during these activities, but they might be setting your teeth up to chip later.

Address Bite Problems

Of course, the problem might not be the enamel or anything you’re actually doing. It might be your bite that’s the problem. You may clench and grind your teeth unconsciously, during sleep, or in periods of stress. Some might consider this a bad habit, but it’s rarely something you do consciously. If this is a problem for you, we can provide you with a bite guard to help protect your teeth from damage.

You might also experience chipping because your bite isn’t coming together properly. This can put excessive force on some of your teeth, causing them to chip or crack during normal biting and chewing.

Both bruxism and uneven bite force can be related to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD). If they are, diagnosing and treating the true cause of your chipped teeth means addressing the bite problem. Initially, treating your TMJ might involve using a bite splint that repositions your jaw, but it may later include rebuilding your bite with restorations like dental crowns, especially if your teeth have been badly damaged.

Comprehensive Solutions

Initially, a chipped tooth might be treated with dental bonding. If you’re looking for very attractive, long-term results, we might recommend veneers instead.

However, if you tend to experience multiple chipped or cracked teeth, we might have to look for more comprehensive solutions. This may include referral to another professional or specialist (such as a doctor for reflux or a therapist for bruxism).

And, of course, we can make your smile beautiful again, no matter the cause of cracked teeth.

If you are tired of your chipped or cracked teeth in the Myrtle Beach area, please call (843) 903-3111 today for an appointment with cosmetic dentist Dr. Dustin Holladay at Carolina Forest Cosmetic Dentistry.