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It may seem like a harmless habit, but using your teeth for anything other than chewing food can lead to chips, cracks and even tooth loss.

Outside pressure can cause your teeth to chip, and when the force is great enough, they may break or split.  When the split is really deep, sometimes the only solution is to remove the fractured tooth because there may not be enough structure to restore it.

Chips can be disguised with bonding, usually in a single-visit procedure.  You may also find that using your teeth as tools has caused them to shift, in which case, braces can help them move back into place.

If you have a crack that runs underneath the gums, your dentist may recommend an even more drastic option like a dental implant-an artificial titanium tooth that’s surgically anchored into the jaw.

Protect your teeth by using them for their original design.  Keep them clean of plaque and resulting bacteria.  Floss, brush and rinse your teeth at least two times daily.

If it’s too late for you and your teeth have been damaged by using them as tools, Dr. Halsema can help you restore your natural looking teeth with dental implants or veneers for less serious issues.

A gentle reminder is to learn to use the proper tools provided for all the other tasks in life and keep your teeth safe and secure by not using your teeth as tools.