You scrape on something hard, such as ice or a piece of hard candy, and then realize there’s something sharp in your teeth that does not melt or dissolve. You feel an unpleasant sensation as you realize that the item is actually a portion of broken tooth.
The enamel on your teeth is the hardest, most mineralized tissue in your body, but it is weak and can be permanently compromised by biting into something hard or having your tooth broken or chipped. You should receive urgent dental attention if you find that you have broken or chipped a tooth. Your dentist has a variety of options available to fix your teeth. They can discuss these options with you and help you decide what is best for your smile.
How to Care for a Chipped or Broken Tooth
If you experience a fractured tooth, chipped tooth, or cracked tooth, see your dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, your tooth might be damaged more deeply or become infected, potentially resulting in loss of the tooth.
There are a few things you can do to care for yourself in the meantime:
- If you are experiencing pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen. Rinse your mouth out with salt water to soothe any discomfort.
- If the sharp or jagged edge caused by your break is deep enough to cover with a thin piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum, do so to protect yourself from cutting your tongue or the inside of your mouth.
- Eating soft foods is the best choice if you have damaged a molar and have to chew on it.
Recovery for a broken or chipped tooth depends on the degree of the damage. Even if only a small amount of enamel broke off, the repair can usually be completed in one office visit. Damaged or broken teeth may require additional sessions or a costlier procedure to fix them. Your dentist may repair your tooth using some of the following techniques.
How Do Dentists Fix a Chipped Tooth?
The cost of repairing a chipped or cracked tooth will primarily depend on the severity of the damage. If only a small portion of enamel is missing, your dental specialist may be able to repair the damage in just one office visit. However, badly damaged or missing teeth might necessitate a more advanced treatment, which may require more than one office visit. Your dentist may recommend one or more of the following options to repair your chipped or broken tooth:
Tooth Reattachment: Reattaching a tooth is possible with the right care and treatment. In order to increase the chances of success, it is important to seek professional dental help as soon as possible after the tooth has been knocked out. With proper care, your tooth can be successfully reattached and you can once again enjoy a healthy, complete smile.
Smoothing the Tooth: Your oral health is essential to your overall health and well-being, and regular visits to the dentist are key to maintaining it. During your next appointment, be sure to ask your dentist about tooth smoothing. This simple procedure can help prevent cavities and tooth decay, and it can also make your teeth look and feel great!
Filling or Bonding: If you’ve chipped away some enamel, your dentist may be able to repair the damage by applying a filling. If your tooth was damaged frontward, your dentist may be able to repair the damage by applying a tooth-colored composite resin. Bonding is a simple process called nociception and can often be done without the need for numbing. The dentist starting with the etching surface of the tooth uses a special liquid or gel. Next, the dentist will use an adhesive agent before placing the resin into the dental cavity. Following shaping the resin to match the appropriate dimensions of your natural tooth, the dentist let hardened the light resin using an ultraviolet light.
Dental Veneers: If you have a chipped or missing front tooth, a dental veneer can be replaced to make it look appealing. A thin layer of tooth-colored veneer composite material or porcelain, veneers are custom-made for you and then attached to the surface of your natural tooth with special cement.
Dental Cap or Crown: A portion of your remaining tooth can be removed and then capped with a crown, which is designed to protect the tooth, preserve function, and enhance aesthetic appearance. If the damage extends to the pulp of the tooth, you could possibly develop pulp damage or an infection. If your dentist finds that the pulp in your tooth is dead or dying, they may need to remove it through root canal therapy. After the procedure, your dentist will cap the tooth with a crown.
Extraction: There are a few different options for chipped teeth extractions, and the best option for you will depend on the severity of the chip and your personal preferences. If the chip is small and not causing any pain, you may be able to wait until your regular dental appointment for an extraction. However, if the chip is larger or causing you discomfort, you may need to seek out emergency dental care. In either case, it’s important to have a professional assess the situation before deciding on the best course of action.
It is important to not wait to handle a chipped tooth. Contacting your dentist to schedule an appointment is the best way to ensure that your oral health is maintained.
Complications of chipped teeth
When the damage to your tooth reaches the root, an infection can develop. The usual treatment for this is a root canal. Here are some symptoms that may indicate an infection:
- Pain when eating: If you have chipped teeth, you may experience pain when eating. This is because the exposed nerves in your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. To reduce the pain, you can try eating soft foods, using a straw, or rinsing your mouth with cold water. You should also avoid eating hard foods or chewing on hard objects. If the pain is severe, you may need to see a dentist to have the chips repaired.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold: If you have a chipped tooth, you may experience some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. This is normal and will typically go away within a few weeks. In the meantime, you can try using a desensitizing toothpaste or taking over-the-counter pain medication to help relieve any discomfort. If the sensitivity persists for more than a few weeks or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain or swelling, you should see your dentist for further evaluation.
- Fever: There is no need to worry if you have chipped a tooth or two. With the right dental care, your teeth will be as good as new in no time. However, if you are experiencing a fever along with your chipped teeth, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out any other potential causes.
- Bad breath or sour taste in your mouth: If you have chipped teeth, bad breath, or a sour taste in your mouth, it’s important to see a dentist right away. These could be signs of tooth decay or other dental problems. A dentist can help you determine what’s causing the problem and recommend treatment to help you feel better and keep your teeth healthy.
Swollen glands in your neck or jaw area: If you have any swelling in your neck or jaw area, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. Swelling can be a sign of an infection, and if left untreated, an infection can spread to the rest of your body. A chipped tooth can also be a sign of an infection, so it’s important to see a dentist to get it checked out.