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Causes of Tooth Fractures: Injuries and Damage

Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. Jan 3, 2015

A man with a toothacheDr. Danny O'Keefe proudly serves the greater Jackson area, offering his patients the latest in restorative dentistry treatments to improve dental health and wellness. These treatments are often ideal when addressing damage to the teeth and gums. We'd like to take a moment right now to go over some of the causes of tooth fractures, with a few tips on how to prevent these kinds of dental injuries.

Tooth Injuries Caused by Accidents While Biting and Chewing

We've all heard stories about people accidentally biting into an unpopped kernel in their popcorn, or accidentally munching on a bone when having a meal. This can lead to serious damage to the teeth. That's why it's important to chew slowly and to savor your food as your eat. This makes injury to the teeth less likely.

In addition to accidents with biting and chewing, patients should avoid idly chewing on hard objects or inedible objects, such as pen caps, fingernails, and straws. Not only are these socially unacceptable behaviors, but they can lead to tooth damage over time.

Tooth Injuries Caused by Vehicle Accidents

Major accidents in your car or on a bike can cause trauma to your mouth. This can lead to major tooth injuries, such as chips, cracks, and other forms of harm. Drive carefully wherever you're going, and if you're riding a bike, be sure to wear your helmet. You'd be surprised how much a helmet may be able to prevent severe injuries.

Tooth Injuries Caused by Slips and Falls

If you experience a major slip or fall, it's possible to land on your face and cause major damage to the teeth. Be sure to be wary when walking on slippery surfaces, and also be sure to use bannisters and guardrails when on the stairs to keep your balance.

Tooth Injuries Caused by Sports and Athletic Injuries

People who play contact sports or engage in combat sports are more likely to suffer from fractures to the teeth. Some sports that are more likely to cause tooth fractures include:

  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Mixed martial arts (MMA)

That's why it's so important to consider wearing a mouth guard. This protective retainer will reduce the chances of tooth damage, and will also reduce the likelihood of injuries to the tongue and other parts of the mouth.

Tooth Injuries Caused by Grinding Teeth (Bruxism)

Tooth grinding (bruxism) occurs when the teeth gnash, shift, and clench when a patient is asleep. This is most often the result of stress or poor dental alignment. The grinding of the teeth can lead to damage of the teeth as well as major problems with the jaw joint.

Treating tooth grinding can involve multiple approaches in order to enhance overall dental health. The most common treatments to address tooth grinding include stress management techniques, orthodontic care, and the use of a bite guard when the patient is asleep.

Treatment Options for Tooth Injuries

When treating tooth injuries, it's ideal to save the tooth when possible, retaining as much of the natural tooth structure as can be maintained. This generally involves the use of fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns. If a tooth cannot be saved due to severe damage, extraction of the tooth may be recommended, in which case various options for tooth replacement can be discussed.

Speak with Dr. Danny O'Keefe About Your Dental Health

If you would like more information about treating and preventing tooth injuries and damage, we encourage you to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. O'Keefe and his entire team will work closely with you to ensure your smile is as healthy as it can be.

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