Chipped teeth are a very common oral issue, though many people neglect to fix it. Chipped teeth are not, necessarily, a dental emergency. However, having chipped teeth can affect more than your aesthetics.
But yes, chipped teeth do also hamper your smile. The smile is the centre of the face. A healthy smile can exude confidence. Confidence really helps with making a good first impression, which can only benefit you in all aspects of life, whether it is in a professional environment, or in your personal life.
What causes chipped teeth?
Chipped teeth can occur for various reasons. Teeth grinding is a common cause and can indicate an underlying condition like stress. Other conditions that weaken teeth can put people at risk of chipping their teeth.
Weakened teeth are more likely to chip. A chip can range from being a crack in the top layer of the enamel to a full-on break or snap through the width, detaching part of the tooth completely.
People who suffer from eating disorders, hyperemesis and other conditions that because excessive vomiting are most at risk. The stomach acid that comes up with the vomit is very damaging to tooth enamel.
Eating and drinking a lot of acid-producing foods and drinks, such as fruit juices, coffee and spicy foods can break down enamel and leave the surface of teeth exposed, says Healthline.
Acid reflux or heartburn, two digestive conditions, can also bring stomach acid up into your mouth, which can also damage tooth enamel.
Older folk are also more susceptible to getting chipped teeth. The teeth, like the rest of the body, will age and become weaker over time.
People with advanced tooth decay or those who love to munch on hard foods like ice are also at risk of chipping their teeth.
Some tooth chips are from accidents, though. Car accidents, falling and sports can all be catalysts for mouth and gum/tooth injuries.
How do chipped teeth affect you?
The teeth play an integral role in the beginning of the digestive process. Having the teeth in good condition means no pain when chewing. When the chewing action is painful, it can hamper the amount of chewing the affected person is willing to do. The more you chew your food, the more it’s ground for easier digestion.
A chipped tooth will cause pain from pressure on the tooth when biting. The intensity of the pain depends on whether the chip is near to the nerves of the tooth. If the chip exposes the nerve of the tooth, you need to get to a dentist immediately to get a filling or other medical interventions.
Injury begets more injury
If you have a chipped tooth with a fresh, jagged edge it can cut into your tongue, lips and gums. Sometimes, tooth edges can be sharp enough to draw blood. The tooth may need to be filed down or filled. Sometimes the affected tooth may need to be extracted.
The treatment for a chipped tooth can vary between needing fillings, veneers or a crown, to having full-on root canal surgery. When a tooth is damaged, it is at risk of being sensitive and of developing decay.
It all depends on the severity of the chip, though. You’ll be happy to know that almost ALL chips can be fixed.
What do I do when my tooth chips?
Protect the chip
If the chip is quite deep, any contact, whether it is from hot or cold food and drink, or even your tongue, can be extremely painful, says Affinity Dental in an article called ‘What to do when you’ve chipped a tooth’. An exposed tooth is sensitive. Cover the chip with wax or gum to protect it. In the meantime, use an over-the-counter pain killer if necessary.
If you need to eat something (if your appointment can only be made for the next day) be sure to eat warm food that is soft and easily chewed and swallowed.
It is advisable to always consult a dentist before making a decision about your oral health. You may be able to live with a chipped tooth, but the best thing to do is get an expert opinion on the best course of action.
This is why having dental insurance is so important.
Like health insurance, dental insurance covers the cost of certain procedures, check-ups and emergencies either in their entirety or to an agreed-upon percentage, depending on the type of plan you choose. In turn, the insured pays a monthly premium. Dental insurance policies help many people to effectively budget for the cost of major dental procedures.
As for Affinity Dental, there are three tiers of dental insurance available at different price points. Each of these options covers certain specialist work to various degrees.
This plan starts from as little as R189 a month and covers basic dentistry needs.
It includes Full Mouth Examination or Scale and Polish, Intraoral, Radiographs, Emergency Examination, Infection Control, Extractions, Fillings and Specialist Dentistry.
The Gold Plan offers the same as the silver plan, with a few extras.
Full Mouth Examination or Scale and Polish, Intraoral Radiographs, Emergency Examination, Infection Control, Extractions, Fillings, Root Canal, Impaction, Crowns, and once again, Specialist Dentistry.
Most extensive cover can be expected from the Platinum plan, which costs members around R389 a month.
Members can expect everything that the Gold Plan offers, with added budget for an extended cover.
The Platinum Plus package is only available on the Platinum Plan and has a waiting period of 12 months. It offers members an increased Specialist Dentistry benefit, increased cover for Crowns and a set of Partial Plastic Dentures every 48 months per member.
Contact Affinity Dental today and choose the plan that fits your oral care needs.
Adults and children need to visit the dentist at least twice a year, and these dental maintenance appointments can really start to add up. Dental insurance will cover you for any additional treatments such as crowns, root canals or fillings, whether they are done at the dentist, or at a specialist practice.