March 26th, 2015
Repairing a chipped tooth is usually not as hard as one would imagine. Through several different processes, depending on the severity of the chipped tooth, a dentist can make your smile look good as new.
It all starts with the chip. While enamel is the strongest mineralized tissue of the body, it can still be broken. You could be eating a hard candy or chewing ice, you could fall or take a blow to the face; whatever it is, it can damage your tooth and require immediate attention.
What To Do If You Chip Your Tooth
Before anything else, you should know what to do right after you chip your tooth:
- First, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. Chips and fractures can become a lot worse, either by fracturing more or developing an infection, if left unattended.
- If the tooth causes you pain, use an over the counter pain reliever and rinse your mouth with salt water.
- If the tooth has a sharp edge resulting from the fracture, use gum or a paraffin wax to cover the tooth and protect your gums.
- Avoid hard foods, and if you must eat before your dentist appointment, choose soft foods: smoothies, mashed potatoes, and the like, to avoid biting down on your gums.
Treatment for a Broken Tooth
There are several types of treatment for a chipped tooth, depending on the severity of the fracture. If it’s a small crack or chip, it usually takes one visit to the dentist to solve, while more severe fractures can take several visits.
For small cracks and chips, a procedure called “bonding” is performed. Bonding does not require numbing the tooth. To bond a tooth, the dentist will add a liquid or gel to prepare the tooth for the bonding material. Next, the dentist applies an adhesive and attaches the bonding material. The material is shaped to look like a natural tooth, then dried by applying an ultraviolet light to harden the material.
For larger fractures, a crown can be placed over the teeth. This requires filing down enough of the tooth to then place a cap over it and cement it down. This protects the exposed underside of the tooth while allowing you the ability to chew and smile normally. Crowns involve taking an X-ray and impressions of your teeth for a crown to be made. On a second visit, with a permanent crown made, your dentist will use a composite cement to permanently place the crown over your tooth.
If the fracture of the tooth is so large that it exposes the root or pulp of the tooth (the center which contains nerves and blood vessels), a root canal is needed. This treatment involves removing the remaining pieces of tooth along with the dead pulp. The dentist then cleans out the empty root canal and seals it to avoid infection.
There are many options for chipped, broken, and fractured teeth, but only a medical professional can determine the right solution for you. If you are experiencing pain from a chipped tooth, contact Water Tower Dental, Chicago’s #1 rated dentist office set the path for a better, brighter smile.