You chipped your tooth…now what?
Whether you were chewing on hard candy, ice, or if you had an accident, a chipped tooth can cause concern. The enamel of your teeth is very strong, but it has limitations to how much it can endure and can break or chip off—no need to panic. Your dentist has many options to help you if your tooth breaks!
While a broken tooth isn’t always a dental emergency, you should call your dentist immediately so you can get an appointment as soon as possible.
How to Care for Your Chipped or Broken Tooth
If you have chipped or broken teeth, you must see your dentist as soon as possible to have the tooth repaired. Leaving an untreated broken or chipped tooth can further damage and decay, causing you more pain. It is essential to take proper care of your chipped tooth until you see your dentist.
First and foremost, do not swallow the broken pieces if possible. If you are experiencing some pain, you can take some pain-reliving medication, like acetaminophen, or rinse your mouth with warm saltwater.
Some chips may cause a jagged or sharp edge. If this happens, you can cover the sharp edges with wax or sugarless chewing gum to keep the broken tooth from cutting your tongue, lips, or cheeks. You should also stick to eating soft foods and avoid biting down hard where the tooth is chipped.
Your dentist will provide treatment based on the severity and location of the chipped tooth. For a small break or chipped front tooth, your dentist can likely fix it within one visit, but a badly damaged tooth could require more lengthy procedures to repair.
How can a dentist repair chipped or broken teeth?
After the dentist has assessed the damage and can determine the cause, he can decide which treatment options you have available. Here are some of the ways your dentist can fix broken or chipped teeth.
Your dentist can use a procedure called bonding can be used on small chips to repair the tooth. Dental bonding is a quick, non-invasive procedure typically done in just one visit. The dentist can use bonding on a back or front tooth. Bonding uses tooth-colored composite resin that will match the color of your existing teeth for a natural look. Dentists can also shape the bonding to contour your existing teeth for a seamless appearance.
Dental bonding is a simple procedure that is done in the dentist’s office. First, the dentist will etch the tooth enamel with a small amount of acid to ensure the resin material bonds to the tooth. Next, they will apply the tooth-colored resin and shape it to the desired look. A special ultraviolet light is then used to harden the bonded material, and the dentist will polish and ensure the bonding does not affect your bite.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that can fix a broken tooth. A dental crown can give you back the normal function of your tooth while also improving your appearance. Crowns can be fabricated with porcelain, metal, or a combination of the two. You can choose the material to blend in with your natural teeth.
If the tooth is decayed, your dentist will recommend root canal therapy to restore the inner parts of the tooth and then use a temporary crown to protect the roots until a replacement crown is created.
Getting a crown usually takes two visits. During the first visit, the dentist will take x-rays to check the roots and surrounding tooth areas. If there is not much left of the remaining tooth, the dentist will use bonding material to build the tooth up before placing the dental crown.
Next, the dentist will take an impression of your tooth to have the dental crown created that will cover the entire tooth. Once the crown is made, you will return to have the dentist place the crown and restore your tooth.
A dental veneer is a thin shell, usually made of porcelain, that is placed on the surface of a tooth. It can be used to change the shape and size of a tooth, fix a front tooth chip, or fix a discolored, misshapen, or oddly-shaped tooth. They are typically used to improve a broken front tooth, as dentists cannot use them on the back teeth. Veneers can be fabricated with porcelain or can be composed of resin. The veneer can also be custom-tinted to blend in better with your existing teeth.
The dentist will begin by removing a small amount of the tooth’s surface for this procedure. Next, the dentist will take an impression of the tooth to create a veneer that can cover the entire front surface. Once this is done, the dentist can fit and bond the veneer in place.
Root Canal Therapy
If your broken tooth exposes the roots and pulp beneath it, your dentist will recommend a root canal. Bacteria can easily access the inside of your tooth and cause tooth decay when it is left exposed. If this happens, the pulp can die, and the tooth will need to be extracted. Root canal therapy removes the dead pulp and rids the area of decay so that the dentist can safely repair the chipped tooth without sealing in any decay.
Which option is best for you?
Having a chipped tooth can make you feel self-conscious, and it can be painful. You must see your dentist as soon as possible for a chipped or broken tooth to ensure you save the rest of the natural tooth. Your dentist will evaluate the structure and health of the remaining tooth and choose the best option to restore your dental health.
Visit North Atlanta Family Dentistry Today!
Whether you have a tooth missing, tooth chips, or need a tooth extraction, our dental team is here for you. We can fix a chipped tooth in a pain-free environment and restore your smile. For more information on how our dentist can fix a chipped tooth or any other dental needs, don’t hesitate to contact us today!