The enamel found in your teeth is the strongest substance in your body, and your teeth are instrumental in your ability to process an array of foods with a wide variety of textures. Even thought they are strong, teeth can still be damaged if you use them in ways that they weren’t designed for. It can be tempting to use your teeth as a handy tool in some circumstances, but doing so can have serious consequences for your oral health – and your wallet!
How People Misuse Their Teeth
Your teeth can chew many things, but they have their limits. Unfortunately, patients who use their teeth as tools to open packages, hold items when their hands are full or crack nuts, among other actions, are putting themselves at risk for those teeth to be chipped or broken. Similarly, chewing on non-food items, such as fingernails or pencils, to alleviate stress can also be harmful. Ultimately, you may end up consulting with your dentist to repair the damage.
Consequences Of Tooth Damage
If a tooth is broken or chipped while being used as a tool, it will obviously be detrimental to your appearance. Most patients will want to pursue a restoration of the tooth, which could involve having your dentist place veneers or a dental crown, depending on the extent of the damage.
Structural integrity is of concern when it comes to broken teeth, as well. In some cases, patients may need to undergo root canal treatment to repair a tooth that has been severely damaged when being used as a tool. This becomes necessary when the tooth’s innermost core is exposed to the oral cavity and the bacteria found there.
The pulp material must be removed from the tooth and replaced with an inert substance to reduce the risk of infection. While root canal therapy is not nearly as uncomfortable as most people think, it still does require an investment of your time, energy and money. It’s best to avoid it by avoiding actions that could harm your teeth.
Resist the temptation to use your teeth as tools for opening packages or holding items when you don’t have a free hand. If you do suffer a damaged tooth for any reason, contact our office as soon as possible to set up an evaluation.