“So I just chipped a bit off my tooth, but it’s not sore or anything, just a bit rough. You can just stick something on quickly to fix it can’t you?”
This is something we hear regularly, and it can be very understandable for patients to think that “gluing” something on will solve the problem. But what is the problem?
Generally speaking teeth a pretty tough – they are made of sturdy stuff and need to be given the abuse we give them! Your average car tyre pressure is about 30psi, but you can bite with ten times that pressure – and that is on the low end of the spectrum! So then, one day you develop a cavity in that tooth; uh-oh! Now the integrity of that tooth is compromised. And maybe your dentist does a filling on it? BIG uh-oh! Now that tooth has multiple stresses and micro-cracks in it – but you will keep chewing away!
Can you picture a small crack in your windscreen? And what happens over the next few months of driving? It gets bigger – the crack grows. Well, guess what….yep – the same happens in the tooth. So that piece that “just chipped off” is telling us that the tooth is now structurally compromised, and will get worse with just a patch job.
Unfortunately this is why cracks will often need a lot more than just a patch-up. Regularly we find that those cracks have already propagated to the deeper areas of the tooth and without some pretty significant work the risk of the tooth cracking catastrophically is high.
So, what’s the take home? A chip might be just a chip – but it is more likely that you dodged a bullet and should get that tooth sorted properly. Your tooth will thank you for it!