What everyone should know about how teeth chip or break

| November 12, 2009

As with everything you want to keep for a long time, teeth need to be taken care of.  You need to brush and floss your teeth everyday at home and you need to see a dentist on a regular basis.

I see patients all the time that have a cracked tooth, or part of their tooth has broken off.  Many times I hear “Doc, I was taking a bite of bread and my tooth broke”  or “I bit into a pretzel and that’s what broke my tooth”.

Well, your teeth are strong.  Many circumstances can cause a tooth to deteriorate and breakdown.    Typically a tooth takes months or even years to break down until the final blow with the “bread” or “pretzel” causes a piece to break off.

Anything that falls off a  tooth because of eating a piece of bread was going to fall off anyway.  Or to put another way, it was already broken before you even thought about eating the bread.

Except for face trauma, a tooth has been weaken and broken down long before it breaks.

In addition, a trip to the dentist for a cleaning or a check with the dentist does not break a tooth.  Healthy teeth are strong.  At times a cleaning might be fairly vigorous because the teeth have a lot of build of plaque or tartar or the patient my perceive that there is a lot of  “poking” going on and that’s why my tooth broke.

But as stated earlier, your tooth is not going to break because of one “event” like a cleaning or taking a bite of food.  Teeth break down over time because of many factors such as use/age, types of foods and drinks that you consume, and lack of regular maintenance at home or at the dentist.

A trama to the face is the only thing that is going to make a healthy tooth break… all of a sudden.