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Teeth are designed to be very strong and resilient, but they are not indestructible. Over time your teeth may develop problematic cracks or chips—these may be large or so small that you cannot see them with the naked eye.

Today our O’Fallon dentists are talking about how dental enamel becomes cracked and chipped. We hope that this information will help you take steps to protect your smile from this kind of damage.

Teeth can, of course, become damaged when a patient suffers a dental trauma. Car accidents and sporting accidents are common causes of damage. Take the time now to figure out who you will call for treatment in a dental emergency!

Dental trauma is a pretty dramatic and obvious cause of dental damage, but there are a number of more banal issues that can lead to dental cracks and chips. Bruxism, for example, puts an enormous amount of pressure on your teeth, and can lead to broken enamel over time. Bruxism is a term that is used to describe chronic dental grinding and clenching. Bruxism can manifest during the day or at night. In order to safeguard your smile, your dentist may recommend that you wear a protective mouth guard when you sleep. Alternatively, orthodontic treatment can help to perfect your bite so that your top and bottom jaws come together comfortably.

Acid erosion will also leave your enamel susceptible to damage. Acidic substances like fruit juices, wine, and many whole fruits can weaken dental enamel and wear it down. In order to minimize the amount of damage that acid does to your smile, try to rinse your teeth with water after enjoying something acidic.

If you want to learn more about the causes of dental damage, our O’Fallon dentists are here to give you all of the information you need!

We all know that as the weather gets colder we’re more likely to experience runny noses and (for the grown-ups among us) creaky joints. But did you know that some people actually report that their teeth feel different in the winter?

As temperatures drop you may find that your teeth feel more sensitive, and are prone to discomfort. Our O’Fallon dentists are here to explain why this happens, and to help you manage sensitivity.

If your dental enamel is thinner, you will find that your teeth are more sensitive to temperature changes. This is because the nerves within your tooth structure are more exposed than they should be. Something as simple as walking outside and being hit with a blast of cold air can lead to tooth pain. Conversely, if you start sipping a hot beverage while you’re out in chilly weather, you may likewise experience discomfort.

The first thing that you can do is to minimize the number of extreme temperature changes to which your smile is exposed. Lukewarm drinks, for example, will be less jarring for your dental nerves than hot liquids.

Additionally, there are toothpastes and mouth rinses that are specially formulated to dull sensitivity and keep you comfortable. Your dentist can recommend an appropriate formulation for your smile. Your dentist may also encourage you to undergo in-office fluoride treatments or to use a toothpaste with a high concentration of fluoride in order to strengthen dental enamel, which thus lessens sensitivity.

Dental sensitivity can keep you from enjoying your favorite foods and drinks; our O’Fallon dentists are here to help you manage this issue and get on with your life! Call our office to learn more about how dental sensitivity develops, and what we can do about it. And, in the meantime, take it easy on that hot cocoa!

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