From October to January, our minds are filled with decorating our homes, opening up our favorite cookbooks, and getting gifts for our loved ones. It’s a great time of the year (some would say the most wonderful) for most of us, but it’s a hard time for our teeth.
From extra sugary food and drinks, to holiday stress, to opening new packages with your chompers, your smile goes through quite a bit. A minor chip can bring your whole day down, but fortunately, WhiteWing Dental has a few tips to protect and repair your teeth!
How Holiday Fun Can Chip Your Teeth
Holiday stress has its own complications, but this season brings a little more with it because of pandemic fatigue and stress. Some might not be able to see their loved ones or celebrate as they usually do, and this added stress can lead to bad habits like teeth grinding, which will chip away at your teeth as well.
In addition, all of the sweets that are often associated with the holidays can affect the condition of your teeth. In fact, it’s a common misconception that sugar is what damages your teeth. While it does start with sugar, the damage begins when bacteria feeds on that sugar and becomes acids. Those acids then eat at the enamel on your teeth.
Chewy and sticky candies should either be avoided, or taken in moderation. Hard candies, on the other hand, are especially rough on the teeth, as chewing on them constantly can lead to a chipped tooth. The same goes for hidden popcorn kernels, almonds, and ice cubes as they can harm brittle and even strong teeth.
The holiday season can also bring changes in your dental routine. Many may be safely traveling or sleeping in during the holidays, or have family staying over. This change in your routine might lead to brushing your teeth less or forgetting altogether.
Lastly, although this isn’t necessarily exclusive to the holiday season, using your teeth as a tool, from cutting tape to opening packages, is also never a good idea, as it can lead to chips in your teeth.
The McAllen family dentists at WhiteWing Dental encourage you to practice good oral hygiene – brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, floss, and follow up on your scheduled dental appointments. This will help you avoid dental stress this season and enjoy time spent with your loved ones!
Sometimes Chipped Teeth Happen
Accidents do occur, and if you find yourself with a chipped tooth this season, don’t panic! It may be a painful accident, but there are a few ways to fix and repair a chipped tooth.
If you aren’t able to visit our dental office for a few days, take precautions to manage the pain and chip first. Begin by rinsing your mouth with warm water immediately to clean it. If there is any bleeding, apply pressure and place a cold compress on the area to reduce swelling. Anti-inflammatory medicine or gels will also help, but make sure that it is safe to place in your mouth.
If there is a jagged edge, dental wax will prevent you from cutting your tongue or damaging your mouth. These types of waxes can be found in drugstores. Try not to chew food on that side of your mouth afterward to avoid pressure and irritation.
Once you are able to visit our dentist, there are a few ways we can help repair your tooth:
1. Smoothing / Polishing
If the chip is very small, a simple smoothing or polishing will take care of the issue, with no additional treatment needed. This method of polishing is also called cosmetic contouring.
For minimal chips, bonding may be the first solution. Your dentist will choose a composite resin in a color that matches your natural teeth. This composite material is molded beforehand over the healthy area of your tooth.
Your dentist will then roughen up the surface enamel on your tooth and apply a liquid for the bonding agent to stick to the tooth. Afterwards, a blue light is used to set and harden the composite material. This bonding can last up to ten years.
Veneers are custom fit porcelain or composite resin shells that are bonded to your teeth and bring a smooth, natural look. These may be suggested if the chip or crack presents a severe cosmetic issue. You can have one or several veneers installed; however, it can become expensive.
Veneers need to be made in a lab and usually take about two weeks to make, so temporary veneers may be placed first. Veneers can last ten to twenty years, so they are a great solution to teeth that have cracked bondings.
4. Dental Cap or Crown
If a substantial portion of your tooth has been lost, a crown may be needed. A crown is designed to protect the tooth, preserve function, and improve aesthetic appearance.
Your dentist will first file away part of the remaining tooth, then cover it with a crown. Crowns are made from metal, porcelain fused to metal, all resin, or all ceramic. On average, they can last five to fifteen years, depending on your lifestyle and the wear and tear done to the teeth.
5. Dental Implants
Dental implants are not particularly used unless the entire tooth needs to be removed. This only happens when the tooth cannot be saved.
Dental implants replace tooth roots with metal or titanium cylinders and replace the chipped, damaged tooth with artificial ones that look and function like real ones. Implants are fused to your jawbone and won’t shift in your mouth. The way the procedure is done is dependent on the type of implant and condition of your jawbone, and it’s also done in stages, with healing time between procedures.
Celebrate the Holiday Season With a Perfect Smile!
Between the pain and a self-conscious grin, the last thing we want during the holiday season is a chipped or cracked tooth. Fortunately, the dedicated Mcallen family dentists at WhiteWing Dental are equipped with the latest technology and certifications to protect and repair your teeth from bonding to crowns and everything in between.
Call WhiteWing Dental’s McAllen family dentists at (956) 686-5577 or our La Feria dentists at (956) 797-3131 to set up an appointment today. We guarantee you’ll be met with a down-to-earth, family-friendly, honest, and helpful experience!