4 Ways A Dentist Will Fix Your Chipped Tooth
Chipping your tooth can be the worst feeling as we all know, teeth don't grow back! However, that fear of having a missing section of a tooth doesn't have to be the end of the world as your dentist may be able to help sort it out and get your smile back to normal.
For the most part, your teeth and enamel are pretty hardy and can withstand various things you throw at them. But a knock to the face or biting something unusually hard can cause the tooth to chip or break. This can also happen more frequently if there is already some decay in your tooth.
If you chip your tooth, there is a range of ways you can limit further damage until you visit the dentist; these include:
If you experience pain
If the chip of damage to your tooth is painful, take some pain relief to reduce the immediate discomfort. If the tooth has chipped away from the gum line, bacteria may start to build here, so rinse your mouth with salt water to keep it clean.
One of the most common issues with a chipped tooth is the sharp or jagged edge it causes. These edges can do more damage to the mouth or tongue if they are rubbing against the skin. While you are waiting for a dentist appointment, you could use sugar-free chewing gum to over the top to avoid it cutting your tongue or inside of your cheek.
Eating with a chipped tooth
If you need to eat before your dental appointment, avoid chewing on the chipped or broken tooth. Eat soft foods where possible, and drink water.
How does a dentist fix a chipped tooth?
Treatment for a chipped tooth differs depending on the severity of the chip or break. If you have chipped a small piece, then your appointment may only take a short time to fix. However, for more significant breaks, several visits may be necessary.
There are some common ways how the dentist fixes a chipped tooth, and these include:
Filling or bonding
If a small chip doesn't affect the rest of the tooth and root, a dental filling may be used to repair the damage.
What do dentists use to fill chipped tooth? For chipped teeth at the front of your mouth, the dentist will typically use a bonding technique and a tooth-colored resin so it will be less visible when you smile. This resin will be bonded to the tooth and smoothed to fit with the shape of your tooth. Ultraviolet light will then be used to harden the material.
Dental crown or cap
For larger chips and breaks, more repair work may be required. What a dentist does for a chipped tooth in this instance is grind away the rough edge and any decay and place a crown or cap over the top to protect the rest of your tooth.
Crowns are typically made with metal, porcelain, ceramic, or resin. This type of cap is made to fit your tooth's natural shape and will be nearly identical to the original tooth. In some cases, where the entire top of the tooth has broken off, root canal treatment may be required.
A dentist can fix a chipped tooth with a crown generally within a few visits to the office. The first appointment will take an x-ray and then file the tooth to make way for the crown. The tooth may need to be filled or built up and an impression made to get the cap's right shape. This impression is sent to the lab to be completed, and on the next appointment, it will be fitted. In the meantime, your dentist may place a temporary crown to reduce further damage.
One of the worst places to chip a tooth for most people is the front section. If this happens, your dentist may suggest a dental veneer to repair the tooth. While it may be a minor chipped tooth, it can still look more significant because of the placing. A thin shell of porcelain or resin material may be placed over the tooth and a more extensive section on the broken part to fix this.
Your tooth will then be prepared and an impression made. This is then sent to the lab, and a veneer is made. Once it's ready, your dentist will fit the veneer, and a special light is used to activate the chemical, so it hardens quickly.
Root canal treatment
If you have experienced a large tooth chip or break and exposed the tooth's center, this may require more extensive treatment such as root canal therapy. The center of your tooth is the home of the blood vessels and nerve endings. You will probably experience pain and sensitivity more significantly with this type of break. Treatment needs to be carried out quickly to avoid infection. If the center of the tooth or pulp dies, it needs to be removed, and this is the process of root canal treatment.
How to fix a chipped tooth without a dentist
Nearly all chips of breaks will need a dentist's visit to ensure further damage is not caused. Still, for a temporary fix, there are some repair kits available in drugstores and online.
These kits may have dental wax that you can place over jagged edges, or they may include other material to fill gaps in your teeth temporarily. It's important to note they should not be used to substitute professional dental treatment. They may mask underlying issues and could attribute to infection and other complications if not addressed.
How much does fixing a chipped tooth cost?
Costs can vary depending on the damage, so please check with your dentist for more information. If you have dental insurance, many policies will cover different types of tooth chips and damage. (Check your policy for details).