Although not all dental emergencies are preventable, the vast majority are actually avoidable, says Dr. Ryan Hussong of Cornerstone Dental Group. Dr. Hussong, an emergency dentist in Polk City, IA, explains steps patients can take to avoid chips, cracks, and fractures, and what options are available to you following a dental emergency.
Oops…Did I Do That?
Several lifestyle factors and habits make our teeth more susceptible to dental emergencies. A few of the most common include:
- Over-bleaching teeth or using whitening products incorrectly
- Using your teeth as tools, i.e. to open packages, remove lids, gnawing fingernails
- Eating and drinking acidic substances
- Neglecting to seek treatment for teeth grinding
- Participating in sports or physical activity without wearing a protective mouthguard
Tooth enamel, which protects the dentin and nerves within our teeth, gradually weakens as we age, increasing the risk of fractured or chipped teeth. However, following the recommended oral hygiene regimen for your age group, along with twice-yearly dental exams, minimizes the effects of aging on the health of your teeth and gums.
The Difference Between Chips and Fractures
We generally categorize a chipped tooth as one that has lost no more than one-third of its structure. We consider any structural damage beyond that point as a fracture. Dental bonding is the go-to procedure for minor chips and cracks, and Dr. Hussong can complete bonding within a single office visit. Treatment for a fractured tooth, on the other hand, could require two or more appointments. Upon taking x-rays and performing a visual examination of the affected teeth, Dr. Hussong will determine whether porcelain crowns or an extraction works best for you. If your teeth are generally healthy and have not been affected by decay or infection, he will attempt to save your tooth using restorative dentistry. A tooth that requires extraction can be replaced with partial dentures, a bridge, or a dental implant.
An Attractive Smile, Even After an Injury
If a dental or facial injury affects the appearance of your teeth, Dr. Hussong may recommend cosmetic dentistry. He uses porcelain veneers as an example. “When you’ve chipped one or more of your front or side teeth, the damage is visible when you smile or speak. Many of my patients who have a dental emergency actually end up considering veneers to address cosmetic flaws already present at the time of the injury.” Veneers, one of our most versatile offerings, treat several issues in only a few visits to our office. These include stains that do not respond to whitening treatments, gaps between teeth, slightly overlapping or crooked teeth, and teeth that show cracks or small fractures.
Questions about dental emergencies in Polk City, IA? To learn more about emergency dentistry, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact Cornerstone Dental Group at (515) 984-6001. We welcome patients living in Alleman, Ames, Ankeny, Grimes, West Des Moines, and the surrounding communities. For the latest news and insights from our practice, follow us on Facebook.