Chipped Tooth: Causes, Risk Factors, And Symptoms | Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Alex Midtown NYC

Chipped Tooth: Causes, Risk Factors, And Symptoms

Chipped Tooth

A chipped tooth may not be a serious medical emergency, but it is best to get it checked as soon as possible by a dentist. This is because leaving a cracked tooth untreated may lead to greater problems such as greater discomfort and pain in the tooth and gums. 

The outer surface of your teeth is also known as enamel. It is one of the toughest substances in the body. However, it is prone to wear and tear which can cause your tooth to chip. Your tooth could also chip as a result of a forceful blow when playing contact sports, falling down or if you attempt to open a beer cap using your teeth. A chipped tooth can thus be disfiguring, sensitive, and sharp.

Causes of Chipped Tooth

There are numerous reasons for a chipped tooth. Some of the reasons include excessive grinding of the teeth which would wear down the enamel of the teeth, a physical injury to your mouth, biting down constantly on hard substances such as ice or hard candy, or a large existing filling that can weaken your teeth structure. 

Another reason could also be sudden temperature changes. This occurs when a person burns his mouth when drinking tea, and proceeds to drink ice water to soothe the pain. The sudden temperature change may crack your tooth.

Risk Factors for Chipped Tooth

There are several behaviors or activities which increase the risk of a chipped tooth. One of the reasons why a tooth could chip is due to the weakened structure of the tooth. It is thus important to maintain good teeth hygiene and keep your teeth strong and clean. 

Some risk factors could be acid reflux or heartburn, which are digestive conditions that bring stomach acid up to your mouth. The stomach acid is thus able to damage the tooth enamel and weaken the tooth. Another risk factor could be old age, as your tooth enamel wears down over time. Medical reports show that roughly two-thirds of people diagnosed with chipped teeth were over the age of 50. 

Frequently eating acid-producing foods, such as coffee, spicy food or fruit juices could also cause the tooth enamel to wear out and break down, therefore leaving the surface of the tooth exposed and increasing the chances of a chipped tooth.

Symptoms of A Chipped Tooth

You may be unsure if you have a chipped tooth as the tooth could be small and hard to locate. However, if you notice that your teeth are very sensitive and painful to temperature changes, or if you experience pain when chewing food, then you may have a chipped tooth. 

Other symptoms include irritation of the gum surrounding the tooth, feeling a sharp or jagged surface when you run your tongue over your teeth, and pain from the tooth when biting.


It is important to see a dentist as soon as possible so that they can help to make a diagnosis of your chipped tooth when inspecting your mouth and come up with the appropriate medical treatments. Treatments for chipped teeth depend on their location, severity, and symptoms.  If your teeth are causing severe pain and significantly disrupting your daily activities, it is considered a medical emergency and you should see the dentist immediately.