Your teeth were meant to help you chew food for easy digestion; they are not meant for use on non-edible objects as many people have the bad habit of doing. When you use your teeth as a “tool” you put them at risk for unsightly chips that can be embarrassing and require dental work.
Here are some of the worst dental habits that will leave you with teeth that could be unpleasant looking or even cause you some pain:
- Chewing ice – Ice was meant to be used to cool your drink down, not to chew on. Not only can chewing on ice wear down your enamel, it can downright fracture your teeth if they are already worn down.
- Using your teeth as tools – Do you use your teeth to open a stubborn package? This somewhat innocent act could cause your tooth to chip or break altogether, requiring you to need a root canal and bridge or crown to replace the now missing part of your tooth.
- Avoiding the use of a mouth guard – If you play any type of sport that could put your teeth at risk, you need to wear a mouth guard to prevent chips. This is true for any type of sport aside from the obvious, like football and wrestling. A mouth guard should also be worn during basketball, hockey, lacrosse, and racquetball.
- Oral piercings – Your mouth was not meant to be pierced. If you pierce your tongue or lip, the jewelry will cause excessive wear and tear on your enamel and even put your teeth at risk for chips or breakage depending on the type of jewelry you wear and its exact location.
- Grinding your teeth – If you have bruxism, otherwise known as teeth grinding, you could cause wear and tear on your teeth, making them weak over time. Eventually, your teeth could start to break because they can only withstand a certain amount of pressure. In order to avoid this, you should find out the reason why you grind your teeth as well as the appropriate measures to stop it, such as wearing a mouth guard or having orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth.
If you are guilty of any of the above habits, it is time to pay close attention to your dental health. You only get one chance at your permanent teeth, which means if you damage them, you are subjected to artificial teeth or various cosmetic dental procedures to enhance the teeth that are left. Use the appropriate tools and avoid putting things in your mouth that do not belong in order to ensure optimal oral health for many years to come.
An injury that results in a cracked tooth can be very traumatic, whether you are young or old. Knowing how to handle the situation before it occurs can help you keep calm during the minutes following the injury. Not every cracked tooth needs to be seen by a dentist immediately, but there are certain steps that everyone needs to take in order to ensure a sterile environment and minimal amount of pain before being able to be seen by a professional.
Immediate Steps for a Cracked Tooth
- Rinse your mouth – The first step is to rinse your mouth with warm water. This gives you a chance to eliminate any particles that are left in the mouth, decreasing the risk of a choking hazard. After rinsing your mouth, it should be easier to assess the situation, allowing you to determine the extent of emergency that you are dealing with at the moment.
- Stop the bleeding – If there is still bleeding after you thoroughly rinse your mouth, apply mild pressure with sterile gauze to the area to alleviate the bleeding. If you are unable to control the bleeding after 10 minutes, call the dentist right away.
- Apply ice- If there is any swelling, bruising or pain, you can apply an ice pack or cold compress to the outside of the mouth to help reduce the swelling and pain.
- Over the counter pain medications – If you have any pain with a cracked tooth, you can take over-the-counter ibuprofen to minimize the pain and to help bring the swelling down.
After you take these steps, you should always call our office to determine your next step. If you are in extreme pain, you will likely need to be seen on an emergency basis, as this type of crack typically involves the nerve roots. If you are not in excruciating pain, you might be able to wait until normal business hours to be seen. When you are seen, make sure to bring along any of the tooth particles that you may have been able to save.
During the time between your appointment and the tooth being cracked, be very careful about what you eat. Most times, with a cracked tooth, you will not feel pain when you bite down, rather you will feel it when you release your bite. If you find that you are in pain while breathing or drinking/eating anything cold, you can bite down on sterile gauze to minimize the pain until you are seen by a dentist. If you or a loved one ever experience a cracked tooth call our office right away and we can get you taken care of.