Tooth enamel is the hardest, most mineralized tissue in the body, but it’s not unbreakable.1 A tooth can chip from eating hard foods, falling, getting hit in the face, or other trauma – and it’s more likely to occur if the tooth already has decay or weakness. Fortunately, chipped tooth repair is an option to preserve the natural tooth, avoid pain, and restore the aesthetic look or function of the tooth.
What to Do for a Chipped Tooth
If a tooth is chipped or broken, you’ll need to visit a dentist as soon as possible. Without prompt care, a chipped tooth can become more damaged or lead to infection, which may cause you to lose the tooth in the future.
While you wait for your appointment, you can manage the pain and discomfort with these tips:
- Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to manage pain and reduce swelling.
- Rinse with salt water to clean the tooth and prevent infection.
- Stick with soft foods and avoid chewing or biting down on the affected tooth.
- For sharp edges, use paraffin wax or gum to protect your cheek or tongue from getting cut.
Treatment Options for a Chipped Tooth
The nature of a chipped tooth can vary, and the type of treatment depends on the damage. If a small part of the enamel was chipped, the visit might be a quick repair. Conversely, a broken tooth or a tooth with a large chip may need more extensive repair.
Here are some common ways dentists repair chipped teeth:
Fillings and Bonding
Dental fillings are appropriate for small chips that only involve a bit of the enamel. For a chip on a front tooth, dentists typically apply bonding with a natural-colored composite resin that matches the rest of your teeth.
In many cases, bonding doesn’t require a local anesthetic and only takes one visit. The procedure is simple and involves etching the tooth’s surface to roughen it and help the bonding stick, followed by an adhesive and a natural-colored resin. Once the color and shape are correct, the dentist will use special blue light to harden and set the resin.
If your tooth has a lot of decay, sustained a significant chip, or breaks off completely, the dentist may replace it with a crown. The crown, or cap, is an aesthetic option that improves the look and function of the tooth and protects it from further damage. Dental labs make crowns from porcelain and metal, resin, or ceramic, each with its own benefits.2
If the tooth’s root is still living, the dentist may choose to perform a root canal treatment to eliminate pain. During this procedure, your dentist will remove the nerve pulp and place a post in the canal to support the crown. Because of this two-step process, a crown may take two or more dental visits. You’ll likely have a temporary crown made of acrylic to temporarily restore your tooth while you wait for the permanent crown.
If a front tooth is chipped or broken, a dental veneer can restore its look and keep the remaining tooth healthy. Veneers are usually made of resin composite or porcelain that matches the other teeth and covers the front of the tooth.3
Treatment with veneers usually takes a few appointments. The procedure involves roughing up the tooth’s exterior, applying bonding material, and attaching the veneer. When the dentist applies the veneer, they can use special lighting to quickly firm up the bonding material.
Visit Empire Dental Care for Chipped Tooth Repair
A chipped tooth may be inconvenient, however, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible. During the appointment, your dentist will discuss the options and procedures with you, as well as the expected downtime.
At Empire Dental Care, we provide a variety of dental services in a friendly, patient-centered environment. To get your chipped tooth repaired or learn about our other dental services, please call us at (585) 671-1650 or contact us online to schedule your appointment with our team.