When new patients come to my Long Island Dental office for dental treatment I begin with inviting them to sit down with me so we can get to know each other. I like to learn about them and what their concerns are before I do an examination. And of course we discuss our findings and review options and fees before beginning any treatment. The other day a healthy looking man in his middle fifties came into the office, said he hadn’t been to the dentist for 4-5 years but had never had a filling and didn’t have any problems. Nothing was hurting him, had no bleeding or swelling of the gums. But he mentioned just in passing that he had a habit of chewing ice.
A red light went on inside of my head! Chewing ice puts enormous pressure on the teeth plus the added stress of the cold on the enamel can cause the teeth to fracture. The fracture begins with micro-fractures that become deeper as the years go by and the ice chewing continue. The ice acts as a wedge pushing the teeth apart, and the teeth can break in half. Yes, I have seen this happen. Plus I could see from a foot away that his teeth were worn smooth and had shortened. I warned him away from his ice chewing habit!!! Sure enough, when I did my examination I found several cracks in his molar teeth and flattened incisal edges on his front teeth. The back teeth will need crowns to protect the remaining tooth structure and to prevent further cracking. The front teeth will need an occlusal guard to prevent grinding. Check out my blog post on occlusal guards to learn more and to see a photo of worn teeth.spartan dvd