If you've been a chronic nail biter, chances are your teeth have suffered for it. Thankfully, stopping the habit means that your teeth won't experience any further damage. However, the damage that has already been done should be addressed in order to improve your appearance and to protect the health of your teeth. Read on to learn what you can do to fix up your teeth now that you're no longer biting your nails.
Recognizing the Damage Done
Biting your nails can potentially make your teeth crooked, but this isn't always the case, especially if you've recently gotten out of braces. However, biting your nails almost always causes abnormal wear and tear on your teeth. The pressure required to snap through your nail will gradually wear down the teeth you use to bite your nails with. Initially, the damage will be so minor that it won't be noticeable. However, over time, the teeth may become worn away, appearing shorter than the surrounding teeth. This can also break down the enamel on the outside of the tooth, weakening your teeth to threats like acid in your food.
Risking Further Damage
Once the enamel on your teeth is damaged, there are a wide range of ways your teeth can be further injured. The pulp and dentin underneath your tooth enamel aren't as hard as the enamel, so hard foods can potentially wear down these delicate materials. If they're damaged, the root and nerves of your teeth can become vulnerable, too, causing pain and potentially causing the root of your tooth to be damaged. In the end, the simple habit of biting your nails could eventually cause you to need a root canal and a tooth removed.
Repairing the Damage
You've already completed the first step of protecting your teeth — you're no longer biting your nails. However, you should follow up and have your teeth repaired, too.
Visit a dentist to have your teeth measured and examined, and consider talking with a dentist to discuss having your teeth capped or a veneer placed over them. Veneers and caps help to protect the teeth from external force, and they create an even, level appearance between your teeth.
If you've successfully broken the habit of biting your nails, you should pat yourself on the back. Nail biting is an incredibly difficult habit to break, and it can have serious consequences for your oral health. Thankfully, seeing a dentist and having the damage already done to your teeth repaired is easy, so don't put off this step. Your teeth may be at risk of further damage until you have them repaired.
For more information, contact local professionals like Barnstable Dental Associates.