What to do about a chipped tooth


Although our teeth are among the strongest materials in the human body, they are still susceptible to injury. A chipped or fractured tooth is a common, often preventable condition resulting from excessive or repetitive force or physical impact. Not all teeth break the same—there are a variety of causes and types of tooth trauma. Depending on the nature and severity of the fracture to your tooth, you may require emergency treatment. Our Saskatoon dentists give their advice on what to do if you or your child has chipped or fractured a tooth. 

Common causes of a chipped tooth

  • Breaking open shelled nuts or sunflower seeds with teeth 
  • Chewing candy or other hard foods 
  • Chewing on ice cubes or biting into frozen treats
  • Sports injuries 
  • Bruxism or grinding teeth during sleep 
  • Using teeth as tools to open things such as bottles and packaging 
  • Car accidents or falls
  • Mouth jewelry 
  • Misaligned bite (unequal distribution of force when chewing)
  • Poor oral hygiene that causes the enamel to erode and the teeth to lose strength

Not all teeth break the same

Because the front teeth are slender, single-rooted teeth, they are more susceptible to being broken. Larger, multi-rooted molars are stronger but it is still common for them to break or chip, especially if the enamel is already weakened or if there is any existing decay.

You might think the most common cause of a chipped tooth is a blow to the face causing a sudden, clean break. However, some fractures can be the result of months or years of small, repetitive forces that gradually weaken the enamel until the tooth reaches a literal breaking point, causing a crack or fracture. These slow breaks, which are sometimes without symptoms and thus not always detected immediately, can quickly worsen to cause irreparable damage if left untreated. 

What to do if you have a broken tooth

If you have chipped a tooth, it is important to book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. A chipped tooth may be considered a dental emergency if… 

  • it is painful
  • there are broken fragments or sharp edges that could damage the inside of the mouth
  • there is bleeding that doesn’t stop when pressure is applied
  • more than half of the tooth is missing or damaged 

In the meantime, there are a number of things you can do to manage pain and reduce the risk of complications:

  • Manage any bleeding by applying firm pressure with clean gauze 
  • Apply a cold compress to reduce any potential swelling
  • Regular warm, saltwater rinses to keep the mouth as clean as possible and prevent infection
  • Cover sharp edges with dental wax to prevent more damage to the soft tissues in the mouth
  • Book an appointment with your dentist to assess the damage and repair accordingly 
  • An over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen can help with pain 
  • Opt for liquids and soft foods to prevent further damage until you can see your dentist

Treatment for fractured teeth 

There are a variety of ways to restore a chipped tooth. Your dentist will recommend a course of treatment depending on the type, location and extent of the break. If there are loose fragments that broke clean off and you’re able to keep them until your appointment, your dentist may be able to fuse them back in place. For chipped front teeth, bonding or veneers might be the best option. For chipped molars, your dentist may recommend a dental filling. Often, small chips can be filed down to smooth out any jagged edges. Large chips and cracks might require the placement of a crown over the damaged tooth. If the break is so large that it reaches the inner pulp of the tooth, root canal therapy might be needed to prevent infection and re-seal the area.

Prevention tips for an unbreakable smile

  • Mouthguard during sports 
  • Nightguard for sleep bruxism
  • Strengthen and remineralize the enamel
  • Avoid using teeth to open things
  • Avoid chewing hard foods such as popcorn kernels, candy, 
  • Avoid habits that deteriorate the enamel of your teeth such as nail biting, chewing sunflower seeds, crunching on ice cubes
  • Maintain good oral health habits, including regular checkups and cleanings  

By taking precautionary measures to protect the teeth, you can significantly reduce your risk of broken teeth. Delaying treatment of a chipped tooth can result in further damage and even the loss of the tooth, so early intervention is essential. If you break a tooth and still aren’t sure whether your case requires emergency care, you can always contact the team at Acadia Dental for advice over the phone. By calling us right away, we can reserve the earliest available appointment to restore your broken smile to its original appearance and functionality. 

What happens to oral health when dietary sugar is reduced?

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

The effect of sugar on your oral health 

The human mouth is host to a variety of bacteria, whose populations fluctuate based largely on your diet and oral health care habits. The key to optimal oral health is maintaining a healthy balance of these bacteria. When you expose your teeth and gums to sugary food and drinks, you are essentially feeding the bacteria that contribute to oral health issues such as bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. You’ve probably heard your dentist tell you time and time again that sugar is bad for your oral health, but have you ever wondered what happens when sugar is reduced or removed from the equation? Keep reading to find out the four ways your oral health improves without exposure to sugar.

1. Restore pH balance in the mouth

On the pH scale from 1 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline), a salivary pH value of 7 is neutral and ideal for optimal oral health. When oral bacteria feed on sugar in your mouth, they convert it to acid that lowers the pH of your saliva. If salivary pH is 5.5 or lower, the teeth begin to demineralize and enamel erodes. An acidic oral environment puts you at risk for developing decay, cavities, bad breath, and other oral health diseases. Reducing your sugar intake will help restore balance to your salivary pH and keep teeth and gums healthy! 

2.Bye, bye bad breath!

Did you know that smelly oral bacteria have preference for sugar? The sugar that you consume through food and drink feeds the bacteria that cause bad breath. The more sugar you expose your mouth to, the more bad breath you’ll have. If you have smelly breath caused by acid-producing oral bacteria, reducing your sugar intake will starve these bacteria and prevent them from producing foul odours.

3. Less tooth decay and fewer cavities 

Any sugar in the mouth, even in liquid form, binds with sticky plaque particles on the surfaces of the teeth, creating ideal conditions for oral bacteria to thrive and multiply. The acids these bacteria produce are destructive to the tooth enamel and can eventually cause decay and cavities. Cutting back from sugars or cleaning your mouth after eating will keep your plaque buildup from worsening and will slow or stop tooth decay.

4. Lower your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease

The oral bacteria that make a home in the beds of sticky plaque along your gum line continue to feed on dietary sugars and reproduce there, which can cause inflammation of the gum tissues known as gingivitis. With reduced exposure to sugar, plaque bacteria will not be able to produce acid or multiply. This reduces your risk of developing gingivitis and periodontal disease. 

5. Brushing and flossing are more effective 

Because sugar binds to plaque bacteria on the teeth, the more sugar you consume, the harder it will be to clean the growing layer of plaque away from our teeth. The best way to combat plaque buildup is to reduce sugar intake while maintaining a regular habit of brushing and flossing twice daily and after every sugary snack.

When we eat sugar, we feed the bacteria in our mouths and they produce acid waste which disrupts the pH balance in the mouth and leads to bad breath, tooth decay, and gingivitis or periodontal disease. When sugar intake is reduced, we create less substrate for bacteria to grow on your teeth and cause these problems. For most of us, cutting out sugar completely is unrealistic. But when our sugar consumption is less frequent, we do much less damage to our teeth. To further preserve your oral health, avoid letting sugary substances rest on your teeth for a long time after consumption. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth promptly after exposure to sugar. 

And of course, visit to your favourite Saskatoon dentists at Acadia Dental for regular cleanings and checkups to ensure that we will be able to keep your plaque under control and catch any potential oral health problems as early as possible.

For more information about your diet and your teeth, read our blog titled A Health Mouth Eats Well.

Want Whiter Teeth? Read before you Bleach!

Blog | Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

In Saskatoon and across North America, whiter teeth is one of the most commonly desired dental treatments. There are a plethora of ways to brighten the appearance of your smile, but not all methods are equally effective or safe. It’s important to do your research and consult your dentist before choosing a course of action. Here’s what your dentist wants you to know about tooth whitening:Read more

The Importance of Oral Health During Pregnancy

Blog | Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

The promotion of lifelong oral health for any child begins through educating expectant mothers about the importance of oral care during pregnancy. As a Saskatoon dental clinic concerned about pediatric dental care, we aim to help all of our patients understand the links between oral health and overall health. Because pregnant women are even more susceptible to oral health problems and the risks associated with such problems, any prenatal care plan should include conversations about oral health. Preemptive oral health care during pregnancy is essential to ensuring the overall health of both mom and baby into the future. If you or someone close to you is expecting a child, here’s what you should know about oral health during pregnancy:

Read more

How to Prevent Dental Decay

Blog | Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health | Dental Problems | Gums | Help

How to Prevent Dental Decay

As oral health service providers in Saskatoon, preventing dental decay is central to our goal to promote your oral health. Dental decay is a common dental problem that begins with enamel erosion and often without symptoms. As it progresses to form cavities, you may notice increased tooth sensitivity. Discomfort may be minimal at first, but can develop and worsen as the problem persists. If left untreated, dental decay can cause toothache and damage to the root canal. In order to effectively prevent dental decay from developing in your mouth, it’s helpful to understand exactly what causes the process to begin. Read more

When Baby Teeth Break Through: Infant Oral Care and Tips for Teething

Children | Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health | Help

Teething and Kids Dental Services in Saskatoon

Good pediatric dental care starts early with the education of parents! By working together with a reliable pediatric dentist in Saskatoon, a parent can start setting their baby up for a lifetime of oral health long before the first teeth come in. When parents know what to expect and understand the process of teething, they’ll be equipped to keep baby’s mouth as comfortable and healthy as possible during the transition into having teeth. Read more

To chew or not to chew? What you need to know about chewing gum and your teeth.

Blog | Dental Advice | Dental Health

To chew or not to chew? What you need to know about chewing gum and your teeth.

Any oral health services would be incomplete without a conversation about chewing gum. As your Saskatoon dental care specialists, we’re here to let you in on a little secret: not all chewing gum is made equal. You probably already know that chewing gum with sugar is no different than candy and consequently bad for your teeth. But, you might be surprised to hear that when it comes to your oral health, chewing gum is not all bad. To help you make the right choices for your teeth, this is what you should know about chewing gum.Read more

Which tooth replacement option is right for me?

Blog | Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health | Dental Problems

Which tooth replacement option is right for me?

Missing teeth?
There are many reasons for tooth loss. Cavities, gum disease, and injury or trauma to the face are all common causes. Regardless of why, if you are missing a tooth you probably already understand the implications this can have for the appearance of your smile and your confidence.  A gap in your teeth can also influence your speech and eating. What you may not know, is that leaving a gap unfilled in the mouth can actually jeopardize the structural integrity and overall wellness of your jaw and mouth. Fortunately, you have options when it comes to replacing teeth. Read more

What to do when your child has dental anxiety

Children | Dental Advice

What to do when your child has dental anxiety

Is your child afraid of the dentist?

Fear and anxiety about the dentist can turn a child’s dentist appointment into a difficult event, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you are worried that your child has dental anxiety, you may avoid or procrastinate booking their dental appointments even though postponing your child’s oral care can lead to problems in the future. By working together with a great pediatric dentist in Saskatoon, you’ll find there are easy ways to make oral appointments fun for kids. Don’t let dental anxiety be a detriment to your child’s oral health. Here are some tips to make dental visits easy and comfortable for your child. Read more

The History of Toothpaste

Blog | Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health | Gums

The History of Toothpaste

Our ancestors determined that oral cleaning meant better oral and dental health dating back to 3500-3000 BC, when the Babylonians and Egyptians fashioned early forms of toothbrushes by fraying the ends of twigs. And long before the predecessor of the toothbrush was engineered, as far back as 5000 BC in ancient Greece, people were using tooth powders to practice oral hygiene. People have been thinking of dental care long before dental clinics were established.Read more