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6'2”, 218 lb Football Player Tackled... by a Jolly Rancher
Dallas Cowboys safety, Barry Church, was surprisingly sidelined by a classic hard candy. Last week, Church succumbing to his sweet tooth cravings, began to enjoy a Cherry Jolly-Rancher, and unfortunately bit down and broke his tooth. Not thinking much of it, Church continued with his day. That is, until Monday morning. He woke up to unbearable pain, rushed to the dentist and had an emergency root canal, causing him to miss practice!
But, isn't tooth enamel the hardest thing in our body? It sure is, so how does a tooth, so strong and resilient, break with a simple candy? Well, breaking a tooth is actually more common than people think, especially when it comes to teeth with existing large fillings, superficial cracks or cavities. These compromised teeth are much more susceptible to fracturing.
What should you do if this happens to you? Definitely see your dentist ASAP. Depending on the extent of the break, your dentist will decide on the appropriate treatment needed. Small chips can be remedied by a simple filling. A larger break, will warrant a crown. And if the break has reached the nerve canals of your tooth, as what happened to Church, a root canal will be needed. But not to worry, your dentist is there to help you through it!
So what can be done to avoid this? Well for one thing, not chewing on hard candy. But also, prevention is key! Very few teeth break as a result of a one time event like biting on something hard. Instead, they usually break as a result of tiny microscopic cracks that happen over many years. Large fillings, strong chewing muscles, clenching and grinding can be the cause of them. They build up over the years and then...oh no!- part of the tooth breaks off. Here at Camarillo Smiles, the most common "last straw" is a muffin or tuna fish sandwich, something soft. So, we want to prevent these cracks from building up. To do this, we want to get to cavities early before they need a huge filling. We want to avoid habits like chewing on very hard foods (my favorite is one of our patient's snacking on frozen M&Ms). We want to minimized destructively strong bites that can severely weaken a tooth. The use of a nightguard, worn at night is very effective for that.
Don't let any of your teeth tackle you for a loss. Come in regularly to avoid troubles and if you feel a sharp pain when biting on a particular tooth, we need to see you.