Does It Hurt To Chip A Tooth?

Justin Bieber chipped his right front tooth, and he wants everyone to know about it. Bieber posted a series of photos about the incident yesterday, starting with one of himself in a dentist chair with the caption, "I CHIPPED MY TOOTH." The next photo is a headshot of Jim Carrey's character in Dumb & Dumber, who has a similarly chipped front tooth. But to dispel any confusion, the final photo is a close-up of Bieber's teeth, captioned, "Opposite of Jim," for clarity.

I CHIPPED MY TOOTH

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

Bieber's fans expressed concerns in the comments, saying, "I feel u pain dude"; "I HOPE YOURE ALRIGJT❤️❤️"; "Lookin chipper. 😼."; and "It looks like Jesus is between your teeth."
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He's been posting a lot about his minor health issues recently, and basically did the same thing two weeks ago when he got conjunctivitis (a.k.a. pink eye). Bieber is probably going to be okay, but if you're concerned about the state of his smile, here's what you need to know about this dental injury, according to Reuben Kim, DDS, PhD, associate professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry.
Does it hurt to chip your tooth?
Yes and no, Dr. Kim says. "A small chip doesn't really hurt, and for some people, it will go unnoticed," he says. In extreme cases, you can fracture a tooth, which would really hurt, but that's hard to do, Dr. Kim says. "Teeth are strong, so a simple chip on one corner won't hurt, but a larger chip will make the teeth more sensitive," he says. A large crack could expose nerve endings, which would make it very painful to chew or put pressure on the tooth, according to the American Association of Endodontists.
For most people, the worst thing to deal with is the feeling of a sharp tooth on your tongue, he says. You might also feel some sensitivity around the chipped tooth when you drink something cold or breathe, but otherwise, it's not so bad, he says.
How does it usually happen?
Chances are, Bieber chipped his tooth doing something boring, but who really knows? You can chip your tooth just by biting too hard on a fork or food, Dr. Kim says. Trauma, like getting hit in the face or falling, could also chip your tooth, he says. "The muscle that makes you bite, on the side of your cheek, is really strong," he says. So if you bite down on something hard, instead of the thing breaking, sometimes your teeth will break as a result, he says.
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Some people are prone to getting chipped teeth because they already grind their teeth, Dr. Kim says. "Over time, the teeth become weaker and causes 'craze lines,'" which are hairline fractures, he says. "People use their teeth for decades — 40, 60 years — so you're constantly banging or creating lines," he says. These craze lines, plus small trauma (like getting hit or biting too hard), are enough to chip your teeth, he says.
How do you fix a chipped tooth?
Luckily, it's pretty simple to fix a chipped tooth, and Dr. Kim says it takes 30 minutes to an hour to do. Dentists usually use a dental composite, which is a plastic, doughy material, and bond it onto the tooth, he says. Then they'll use a light to cure the composite into a hard, tooth-like material, which is what's going on in Bieber's first photo, Dr. Kim says. In some cases, people might opt to get veneers or a crown, but that's not always necessary and dentists can make pretty convincing repairs, Dr. Kim says.
Let's hope Bieber doesn't have to spend any more time at the doctor dealing with these annoying health issues, but if he does, we'll probably hear about it.
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