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Improper ways to use your teeth…

Every so often we get patients in with chipped front teeth!

Here are some reasons for chipped/broken teeth we have encountered so far (in no particular order):

  • opening plastic packages
  • cutting tape
  • opening beer bottle cap
  • stripping wires
  • holding pencil, pens, screws/nails, clothing pins, etc
  • opening tough nuts (e.g. un-cracked pistachios) and/or crab/seafood shells
  • chewing ice, bones, hard candies eg “Jawbreakers”
  • biting nails

Every time you do one of these things, somewhere a dentist cringes!

Enamel, on the surface of your tooth, is the hardest substance of the human body. It is made up of mostly minerals called hydroxyapatite (a crystalline form of calcium phosphate). This makes enamel even harder than steel.

Enamel is hard enough that you cannot scratch it with a metal fork. However, the high mineral content also makes it brittle and if you bite hard enough, especially if the enamel is already worn thin from a chewing interference against the enamel of the opposing chewing tooth, you end up with these:

So next time you catch yourself using your teeth to doing something you shouldn’t, stop and think of Bruce and Matthew cringing …

Please don’t use your teeth as tools!

Matthew Choi

Matthew grew up in Richmond and graduated with his undergraduate Biochemistry and Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from UBC in 2013. He practiced in Cranbrook, BC in the Kootenay Rockies before making his way back to the big city.

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