- External physical impact or weakened enamel can cause a chipped tooth. Avoid biting on hard foods and wear a mouthguard during contact sports to prevent tooth injury.
- A dentist can restore a chipped tooth with a variety of dental treatments, including fillings, crowns, onlays, veneers, and root canal therapy. Dental treatment depends on the severity of the injury and its location.
- It is important to see a doctor immediately to avoid a serious infection or inflammation due to a broken tooth.
Are you unsure what treatment you need for your chipped tooth? Here's everything you need to know.
Causes of chipped teeth
Biting hard foods is the most common cause of broken teeth. Avoid biting on hard candy or ice to decrease the risk of breaking a tooth. However, you may still accidentally come across stones which you may find in cereals.
People who play contact sports have a higher risk of obtaining dental injuries. To protect their smile, it is recommended athletes wear a mouth guard. If you believe you have signs of bruxism, clench or grind your teeth it may be recommended you wear a guard at night. This is commonly called a “night guard” or an “occlusal guard” Car crashes and accidents are other common causes of chipped teeth as well
You may think that your tooth chipped for no reason, however, the external layer of your tooth may have been weakened or damaged. The weaker your tooth structure is the more likely it is to suffer damage.
Excessive consumption of sugary and acidic food and drinks is highly contributory to weakening the enamel or outer layer of the tooth. Acid reflux and any condition causing frequent vomiting destroys tooth enamel as well. Enamel often wears down naturally with age. Without this protective layer, the structure is less resistant to physical pressures and can develop fractures.
Can a dentist repair a chipped tooth?
Yes. Your dentist may suggest one of the following dental treatments to repair your broken tooth.
Dental filling or bonding
Dental bonding can also be referred to as a filling. Tooth-colored composite resin is used to restore the damaged tooth. Your dentist will cleanse the tooth with an echant, place a bonding agent and then apply the composite resin. Your dental professional will restore the tooth to a proper shape and contour to make it appear as natural as possible.
Bonding can last for many years. However, factors such as your occlusion or bite, ability to keep your teeth and restoration clean, and your mediated risk of repeat fracture are all factors that can affect the long term prognosis of the restoration. Your dental provider will go over how to maintain your restoration to give you the best long term outcome.
Dental crown or onlay
Depending on the severity of the damage, your dentist might recommend you a dental onlay, inlay or full coverage crown. The first option is suitable for smaller damages, the latter is preferable for larger defects. All options are suitable for teeth with defects that are too large to be restored with dental fillings.
A crown is a dental cap completely covering a chipped tooth. This differs from an onlay or inlay which is usually smaller and may appear similar to a dental filling. An onlay or inlay however is fabricated from different materials compared to resin composite which are used in dental fillings. The crown procedure will usually require the dentist to provide local anesthesia for comfort during the procedure. Depending on the size of the chip you may require additional treatment, such as root canal therapy if the crack has extended into the nerve of the tooth.
Usually, specialists working in dental laboratories create inlays, onlays and dental crowns tailored to the individual needs of patients. However, in some dentist offices, a doctor can mill a porcelain inlay, onlay or crown for you and cement it on your tooth on the same day. Onlays and tooth crowns consist of durable materials that can make them last for decades. Still, their longevity can be shortened if they are not taken care of, neglected or put through severe forces.
Veneers can be an effective cosmetic dental procedure to hide visible front tooth chips of different sizes. Veneers may also be an option if you have teeth sensitivity. Your dentist will evaluate the severity of your sensitivity and recommend an appropriate treatment option.
The application of dental veneers may require several visits to a dental clinic. Your doctor will first prepare your tooth. The dentist will take impressions of the teeth or a digital scan. A dental laboratory will then fabricate your veneers. Before your dentist will place temporary veneers while the laboratory is fabricating your permanent set.
The longevity of veneers depends on their material. Porcelain veneers are particularly durable and can last up to thirty years. However, the positions of the other teeth play a major role. They determine the amount of pressure your veneer will have to bear. The more pressure, the shorter the lifespan of the veneers. Your dentist may recommend you receive orthodontic treatment before veneers if your bite or occlusion will significantly impact the long term success of your veneers.
Root canal treatment
Deep dental chips sometimes penetrate the pulp. Their restoration requires root canal treatment (RCT). You should consider making an emergency appointment with your doctor if you suspect you may need RCT. . Without adequate medical attention, the tooth can develop a severe infection or inflammation. Left untreated the infection can spread to other parts of your body.
The procedure involves removing the infected pulp. The doctor will then clean the cavity with a disinfectant and fill it with gutta-percha, a natural biocompatible rubber material. Depending on your oral condition, your doctor will finally close the cavity with either a crown or a filling.
Is a chipped tooth an emergency?
It depends on the severity of the chip and the location of the tooth. A small chip on a front tooth may not be a dental emergency, but a larger chip or a chip on a back molar could potentially be more serious and require more immediate attention.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, or if the chip is causing difficulty with eating or speaking, you should contact an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
What are the differences between a chipped and cracked tooth?
A chipped tooth misses a fragment while its damage begins on the surface. In a cracked tooth, no part may be missing. Yet, its injury usually begins near the gum line. It may affect only the enamel, or it may penetrate deep into the tissue. It can then progress and impair the health of blood vessels and nerves.
Is it necessary to repair a slightly chipped tooth?
If a chip is very small you may not need any dental treatment. For small chips or the ones that feel rough and uncomfortable, such dental care as smoothing and polishing may be enough.
What are the possible complications of a chipped tooth?
Minor chips usually do not result in complications, but larger ones can lead to serious problems. They will expose fragments of your tooth without enamel to food and beverages. When the damage occurs on the chewing surface, food particles can remain in cracks creating a favorable environment for bacteria. Some chips reach the root canal and can cause sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks. They also result in expanding tooth decay, severe toothache, fever and swelling in the jaw and cheek area.
What are temporary fixing options for a chipped front tooth?
f for some reason you have to wait for your appointment, you can get a special over-the-counter kit. It contains dental material that you can shape and attach to your tooth to temporarily restore the affected area. Keep in mind that you should undergo proper treatment as soon as possible to avoid complications. Additionally, if you choose veneers, you will also receive temporary veneers before the final veneers are ready.
How to relieve chipped tooth pain?
Ibuprofen-based analgesics with anti-inflammatory effects can effectively relieve painful sensations in the entire tooth. Pay attention to your oral hygiene to ensure that no food debris puts additional pressure on your chipped tooth. You should also avoid chewing with the affected side of your mouth.
Does a chipped tooth grow back?
No. A chipped or damaged tooth can’t regenerate, heal, or repair itself.
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