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How to fix a chipped tooth

Apr 17, 2023Cosmetic Dentistry, Oral Hygiene

How to fix a chipped tooth

The extent of the damage to a chipped or broken tooth will determine the necessary treatment. If only a small piece of enamel has been lost, a dental professional can usually fix it in one appointment. If your tooth is badly broken or damaged, a more costly procedure may be necessary to repair it and could require more than one visit to the dentist. Here are some recommendations from your dentist for repairing a chipped or broken tooth.

Filling or Bonding: If the enamel on your tooth has been chipped, your dentist may be able to repair it with a filling. If the chip is located on a front tooth, your dentist may opt for a tooth-colored composite resin to restore the appearance of the tooth. Bonding is a straightforward process which typically does not require the use of anesthesia. The dentist begins by etching the surface of the tooth with a special gel or liquid. Subsequently, they will apply an adhesive material followed by the resin. The dentist will shape the resin to match your natural tooth and then harden the material using ultraviolet light.

Dental Veneers: If a front tooth is chipped or broken, your dentist can restore its appearance to look as healthy and flawless as before with the help of a dental veneer. Dental veneers are thin shells made from tooth-colored resin composite material or porcelain. They are custom-made in a laboratory to suit your individual needs. Dental bonding is achieved by adhering a resin material to the surface of a tooth using special cement.

Dental Crown: If a significant amount of your tooth is missing, your dentist may reduce the remaining portion and place a crown over it. This crown can help to protect the tooth, maintain its function and improve its appearance. If the damage to a tooth is extreme enough to expose its pulp, it can result in pulp damage or infection. If this happens, a dentist may need to perform root canal therapy to extract any dead or dying pulp. Following this procedure, the dentist will place a crown on the tooth.

It is important to not delay in addressing a chipped tooth. Please reach out to your dentist as soon as possible to arrange an appointment.


How to fix a chipped tooth at home

Although there is no solution or remedy for a chipped tooth that can be performed at home, there are several temporary solutions available that you can do while you wait for your dental appointment.

  • Dental wax

If your chipped tooth is sharp or has a rough edge, you may want to consider purchasing a temporary tooth repair kit or dental wax from the pharmacy. Dental wax can be applied to the sharp edges of the tooth and will harden, enabling you to eat without discomfort.

This is not a permanent solution, and the chip may become dislodged after an unspecified period of time. Additionally, using dental wax to cover the chip can increase the risk of infection or additional damage if the chip is related to a cavity or decay.

  • Wax Paraffin or Sugarless Chewing Gum

If dental wax is not an option, using wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to cover the chipped tooth may be a more immediate solution. Doing so can prevent the tooth from cutting the side of your mouth or your tongue.

  • Avoid hard foods

It is advisable to refrain from consuming hard foods or using the chipped tooth to chew in order to prevent further damage.

  • Pain relief for a chipped tooth

If you are experiencing pain due to a chipped tooth, you may take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil) in order to reduce the pain and possibly any associated swelling.

If you are experiencing sensitive teeth, it is recommended that you avoid consumption of acidic, sugary, hot and cold foods or drinks to minimize irritation.

Gargling with warm salt water has been shown to provide relief from pain and may even help reduce the risk of infection.


What To Do After Chipping a Tooth

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), if a tooth is broken or chipped, it is recommended to immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Furthermore, applying pressure can help stop any bleeding, while placing a cold compress on the affected area may reduce swelling.

If possible, locate the broken piece of tooth and place it in wet gauze before bringing it to the dentist.

If you have chipped a tooth, it is important to contact your dentist as soon as possible to arrange an appointment. If the piece of your tooth can be located, store it in either anti-cavity mouthwash or a small glass of milk. Your dentist may be able to reattach the chip if the piece is preserved.

If the chip is very small, it may be difficult to locate the missing piece. However, your dentist has several cosmetic treatments available to address the issue, which can help maintain the health of your teeth while preventing further cracking or infection.

It is possible to chip a tooth without being aware of it. Signs and symptoms that may indicate this have occurred include:

  • When running your tongue along the tooth, one may experience a rough or uneven texture.
  • Experiencing a jagged or sharp sensation on one of your teeth
  • There is swelling in the gumline near the chipped tooth.
  • Patients may experience intermittent or sharp pain when biting into food.
  • Patients may experience discomfort or pain when consuming food or beverages.
  • You are experiencing a sensation of having something stuck in your teeth.


Types of Chipped Teeth

Cracked teeth can be classified into five distinct groups.

  • Craze lines: As it ages, small vertical cracks may become visible on the enamel. While this type of damage is common, it is rarely severe or irreversible.
  • Fractured cusp: Small cracks may form in teeth containing cavities or fillings. Such minor cracks typically do not reach the deeper, sensitive areas of the tooth and are generally not accompanied by pain.
  • Cracked tooth (gumline): Cracks which extend to the gumline and may require extraction. However, it is possible to restore subgingival cracked teeth without resorting to removal through non-invasive measures such as dental crowns or bonds.
  • Split tooth: Cracks in teeth can lead to severe complications, particularly when they extend to the point of splitting into multiple sections. Poor oral hygiene and inadequate long-term dental care are common culprits of this type of fracture; however, due to the complexity of the damage, these cases often require extraction rather than repair.
  • Vertical root fracture: Frequent and repetitive forces can cause damage to teeth, resulting in fractures that worsen over time. Vertical root fractures are especially prevalent in adults aged 50 and above.

Contact Our Redlands Dental Office!!

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