Why Do I Keep Breaking Teeth?

fracturedToothIllustrationQ. Why do I keep breaking teeth? I see my dentist every six months and usually get compliments on how I’m taking care of my teeth.  What am I doing wrong?

A.  If your hygienist and dentist are giving you good reports then, more than likely, you are not doing anything wrong.  This, however, does not mean that something might not be unhealthy with your teeth.  Some factors that can increase the risk for tooth fracture include:

  • Previous Tooth decay – Tooth decay weakens the tooth my dissolving tooth structure.  The bigger the area of decay is, the bigger the filling in the tooth will be, and the higher the risk of future breakage is for that tooth.
  • Grinding or Clenching – Grinding or clenching your teeth greatly increases the amount of stress on the teeth and, consequently, increases the chance of fracturing a tooth.
  • Unbalanced bite – Many people think about tooth decay and gum disease when they think of dental disease.  There is another kind of dental disease that is typically a slower process but can be just as debilitating.  Problems with the way the teeth bite together are typically most responsible for breaking teeth.  Teeth are made to share the pressure of your bite.  If the bite is not balanced, the few teeth that bear the brunt of the bite pressure will be more likely to break.

The key is to keep an eye on early signs of tooth structure weakening and bite irregularities. Being proactive and fixing small problems before they become big problems can help to prevent tooth loss, save money, and maintain healthy teeth for a lifetime!

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