Who among us hasn’t committed a little no-no or a small faux pas when our dentist wasn’t looking? Dental indiscretions such as chewing ice, biting the fingernails or ink pens or paper clips, opening bottles with your teeth, grinding and clenching both day and night, inconsistent home care, neglecting our regular dental appointments…we all feel a little guilty about our misdeeds. But, few of us take the time to really consider the reason that these activities are considered criminal (in the eyes of your dentist).
Harmful dental habits can often lead to an accidental injury that requires more than just a little cosmetic dentistry. In the blink of an eye, an innocent ice-chewing session can turn into a badly broken tooth that cannot be saved with a simple filling or a dental crown.
A large fracture or crack line that extends below the gum or bone level will typically be followed by a tooth extraction. The split-second decision to open a tough bottle top with your teeth could result in cut lip or cheek, requiring the expertise of an oral surgeon.
Even without the graphic details of a cracked tooth or a split lip, there is another reason to avoid harmful dental habits. There is just no way to predict when an innocent habit can go wrong. Though you may bite your nails every day, or clench your teeth every night, it is impossible to determine how these habits may be affecting your teeth. There are endless stories of the Thanksgiving dinners that have been interrupted by an unplanned dental injury. There are still more stories of the dental accidents that occur when patients are out of town on vacation.
It’s tough to break a bad habit. Some studies indicate that it takes about three weeks to change a habitual behavior. When it comes to risky dental behavior, your dentist would say that it’s worth the effort.
For more information or help, contact the office of Dr. Carlos Ibanez at 434-295-0911 to schedule an appointment today.