Muesli, Crisp Packets And Bottles – Unexpected Ways To Break Or Chip A Tooth

Sometimes, even the most innocent things can cause damage to our teeth

Dentist doing examinationThere are many things that can cause a tooth to crack or break. Some of these are quite obvious, such as when we have a fall that impacts our teeth or receive a blow to the face. Long term neglect of our teeth can also leave them weakened and more susceptible to damage from much less significant contact than these more dramatic events. Whatever way a tooth breaks though, it is not good news.

Although we can’t always avoid collisions and falls, unless of course it was due to having too much to drink, there are still people who carry out everyday tasks with their teeth that they are not designed for. There are also those that are unfortunate enough to find their teeth coming into contact with something unexpectedly hard in whatever they are eating.

Today, we are going to take a look at three examples of this which we have seen at the Cygnet Dental Practice.

Bottle opening

There are cheap items called ‘bottle openers’ available in the shops, and logic would make you think that it is obvious that this is the best way to open any bottle, but yet, we still occasionally see people who have attempted to open a bottle with their teeth. This is an incredibly foolish thing to do. Even if you can’t find the bottle opener, you should never do this. The chances of breaking or cracking a tooth are very high and there is also a significant risk of facial lacerations if the bottle slips or the glass breaks. Unfortunately, some people do this to ‘impress’ others, often regretting it badly afterwards.

Muesli and stone ground bread

These are good examples of foods that you wouldn’t expect to be harmful to your teeth, yet can sometimes throw up a few surprises. Whilst these products contain mostly cereal, with added fruit or nuts, it isn’t too uncommon to find stray pieces of nutshell or even a tiny piece of stone in them. As we grind the food with our teeth, if we come into contact with these unexpectedly, it can cause a tooth to break or chip, sometimes in a quite painful manner. Although this is relatively rare, it does happen and our Wickford patients will need to weigh up the potential health benefits of these products against the small, but real, chance that it could cause chipping or breaking of a tooth.

Crisp (and other) packets

This falls into the same category as opening bottles with your teeth, although much less obviously so. Whilst most people can see that opening a bottle with your teeth is foolish, most of us have probably resorted to opening crisp and other packets with our teeth when our fingers have proved incapable of doing so. Whilst the risk of broken glass isn’t present with this product, the big risk is that as our teeth slide off the packet, they clash hard against other teeth and can cause them to chip, and less commonly, break. If you can’t open a packet with your fingers, use scissors or, if not available, ask a friend if they can open them. If all else fails, put them away until you get home and use scissors then.

Restoration of chipped or broken teeth

What should you do if you chip or break a tooth? The most important thing is that you don’t ignore it. This is just storing up bigger problems further down the line. A chipped or broken tooth can allow bacteria to enter and could result in tooth decay or even a root canal infection. If you damage your teeth in this way, contact us as soon as you can and request an emergency appointment and we will see you as soon as we can. Where damage has resulted from a significant blow, you should consider whether you need to go to A&E first to make sure that there are no serious head injuries.

The type of restoration that we might use to restore your teeth at our Wickford dental practice will depend on each situation. We will need to examine your teeth before making a final decision, but as a guide, these are some of the possible treatments.

Minor chips – Where there is no significant damage but the chip has created a sharp edge, we may use cosmetic bonding to restore its shape and smooth the edges that could cut or graze your tongue etc.

Larger chips or cracks – These might require a filling to restore and protect the tooth. Where the crack is highly visible, we might discuss the possibility of fitting dental veneers to restore it and also restore its appearance.

Breakages – In some cases, the tooth may be filled, but in others, especially larger ones, it may require a crown to be fitted to restore not only the appearance but the strength of the tooth too.

Poor prognosis – Occasionally, damage to the tooth is so great that there is little point in the above restorations as they are not likely to last long or give you a serviceable tooth. In this situation, the tooth may need to be extracted and we will discuss tooth replacement options such as dentures, a bridge or dental implants with you.

For any damage to a tooth, or for general oral care, please call us for an appointment. You can contact the Cygnet Dental Practice on 01268 733078.