Tooth enamel may be the strongest substance in the human body, but it’s still not indestructible. People can damage their teeth by using them for tasks that aren’t appropriate, like opening packages or holding rather heavy objects. Even biting into non-food items like ice cubes or pencils can put the teeth at risk for breakage. If you want to avoid the hassle of getting a restoration for your broken tooth – or worse, needing a tooth extraction – don’t use your teeth as tools.
Using your teeth as tools can cause a large portion of the crown to break off, leaving insufficient tooth material behind to place a restoration like a dental crown. In such cases, tooth extraction may be indicated. It’s always preferred to keep your biological teeth as long as possible, so when you have a choice to avoid activities that could lead to an extraction, you should choose wisely.
If you do need to have your tooth removed, you may need to consult with an oral surgeon. This type of specialist must be involved when a simple extraction is not possible because surrounding bone must be removed in order to access the complete tooth structure.
Patients who do need an extraction should also consider working with an oral surgeon to replace the missing tooth. Dental implants offer a structurally complete treatment option with a number of benefits for patients. Alternatives, such as fixed dental bridges or partial dentures, lack a root-like structure, which makes them less stable over time and limits their functionality as well.
Although they are stronger than conventional tooth replacement devices, implant-supported prosthetics are still susceptible to the same forces that biological teeth are. So, don’t use those as tools either!
Using your teeth as tools can have serious consequences for the condition of your smile and your oral health. Stick to eating (and only food) when it comes to your teeth, and use actual tools for other tasks, and you’ll be smiling from ear to ear for years to come.
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