If you have a chipped tooth, you might not feel any tooth pain unless the chip is large enough to expose the nerves in the inner layer of the tooth. If a chipped tooth exposes the nerves inside a tooth, you might notice increased tooth sensitivity and pain when chewing or when the chipped tooth is exposed to very hot or very cold food and beverages. A chip on one of the pointed chewing surfaces of the back teeth is called a broken cusp. This type of chipped tooth is rarely painful, but it should be examined by a dental professional. You might need a crown or a dental onlay to restore the shape of the tooth and prevent further damage or decay.
Chipped Tooth Causes
The possible causes of a chipped or cracked tooth include:
- Cavities : Cavities which can weaken the teeth and predispose you to a chipped tooth
- Bad Bite : Biting down on something hard, such as an ice cube, a piece of hard candy, or a bone.
- Hard Hit : Trauma to the face or mouth, such as being hit in the face with a ball while playing sports.
- Poor Hygiene : Poor oral care can make you vulnerable to a chipped or cracked tooth, especially if your tooth enamel is already damaged or thinning.
- Bruxism : Excessive teeth grinding, called bruxism, can cause a chipped or cracked tooth or cracked teeth.
Dealing With Different Types of Chipped Tooth
It all depends on the tooth’s location, and the type and extent of the injury it has suffered. Some of the procedures commonly used to restore chipped teeth include dental bonding, filings, and crowns. Root canal treatment may also be needed when the nerve in the tooth’s pulp is exposed. In this case, getting an immediate evaluation is important: Prompt care and appropriate treatment will give you the best chance of saving the tooth. Let’s look at some different degrees of chipping, and how they are treated.
For some residents in Glendale, a chipped tooth only represents an aesthetic dentistry problem. This is usually the case with a minuscule chip in the tooth — one that is not large enough to do damage to the enamel or the sensitive layers beneath your enamel.
If the chip is tiny, our dentist might be able to use a polishing instrument to remove all appearances of the chip and smooth out any rough edges that may remain. Bonding is another option in which our dentist applies materials to the surface of your tooth that help to maintain the structure and appearance of the tooth. Porcelain veneers are another option for chipped teeth.
Just because your chip is small doesn’t mean there is no risk or that you shouldn’t seek dental care in response to your chipped tooth. Getting help, no matter how small the chip happens to be, means you don’t need to be worried about infections and other problems related to the chip. It also means you can preserve the beauty and integrity of your smile, which may be a bigger burden off your shoulders, especially if the chip is located on one of your front teeth.
If your chip is medium-sized, or large enough to damage some of the layers beneath the enamel, it can pose a risk to your health and the health of your tooth. This is especially the case if you do not seek professional dental care for a chipped tooth quickly enough after the chip occurs.
It only takes a tiny amount of pulp to be exposed for infections to become a likely outcome. This is why it is so critical to see our dentist quickly after the chip occurs. Not only can you avoid infections by seeing our dentist, but you can also deal with the demands of a larger chip to avoid much of the pain these chips commonly cause.
Our dentist can easily repair medium-sized chips — especially if you act swiftly to save the chipped part of the tooth and get in to see our dentist within 24 hours whenever possible. If you cannot find the piece of tooth that was chipped away, hope is not lost. There are other options, including crowns and veneers.
Failing to get prompt treatment once you’ve chipped your tooth, however, can result in a dental infection that can cause substantial pain. Depending on the severity of damage to your tooth, it can result in the need for a root canal.
Large chips often present the biggest potential problems. Aesthetically, they are the most noticeable. This often means you want to tend to them quickly, which is a good thing as they also present the greatest potential for an exposed nerve and potentially excruciating pain.
The key is to get prompt attention from a qualified dental professional. This allows you to receive fast attention and relief from the pain while also helping to increase the likelihood that you can preserve the look of your smile — even if a root canal and crown are required.
In some cases, if the chip is left unattended, it will spread to create a situation in which the tooth cannot be saved — yet another reason to see our dentist promptly whenever a large chip occurs. In these cases, extraction is the only option remaining.
Other Treatment Options for Chipped Teeth
Treatment of a chipped tooth generally depends on its location, severity, and symptoms. Unless it’s causing severe pain and significantly interfering with eating and sleeping, it’s not a medical emergency.
Still, you should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to avoid infection or further damage to the tooth. A minor chip can usually be treated by simply smoothing and polishing the tooth.
For more extensive chips your doctor may recommend the following:
If you still have the tooth fragment that broke off, place it in a glass of milk to keep it moist. The calcium will help keep it alive. If you don’t have milk tuck it into your gum, making sure not to swallow it. Then get to your dentist immediately. They may be able to cement the fragment back onto your tooth.
A composite resin (plastic) material or porcelain (layers of ceramic) is cemented to the surface of your tooth and shaped to its form. Ultraviolet lights are used to harden and dry the material. After drying, more shaping is done until the material fits your tooth exactly. Bonds can last up to 10 years.
Dental veneers are an excellent way to correct a damaged tooth because they are able to repair the appearance and functionality of it without needing to replace it. As a dentist, we can help you to retain your existing tooth through this procedure. A dental veneer is normally made of porcelain. It can be shaped and sized to fit perfectly over the top of your existing tooth, and the color can be matched to the teeth around it. As an experienced cosmetic dentist, we are able to fix your damaged tooth without anyone noticing that we did. When the veneer has been placed it will look completely natural. To get started call our office and schedule an examination.
If the chip only affects a part of your tooth, your dentist may suggest a dental onlay, which is often applied to the surface of molars. (If damage to your tooth is significant, your dentist might recommend a full dental crown.) You may receive anesthesia so the dentist can work on your teeth to make sure there is room for an onlay.
In many cases, your doctor will take a mold of your tooth and send it to a dental lab to create the onlay. Once they have the onlay, they will fit it onto your tooth and then cemented it on.
With advances in technology, some dentists can mill porcelain onlays right in the office and place them that day. Dental onlays can last for decades, but a lot depends on whether you eat a lot of foods that put wear and tear on the onlay and what tooth was affected. For example, one that gets a lot of pressure when you chew, such as a molar, will wear more easily.
Quick Tips For Taking Care Of Your Chipped Tooth
The first thing which you need to do after having your tooth broken or chipped is to consult your dentist, but until then, you can take these easy steps for lessening discomfort and pain.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Apply a bit of pressure with a piece of gauze on bleeding areas until the bleeding stops. If this doesn’t work, use a tea bag with pressure on the area to stop bleeding.
- Try applying a cold pack to the cheek or lips over the broken tooth. This will reduce the swelling and pain.
- Cover the part of the tooth that is in your mouth with temporary dental cement which is easily available at drug stores.
- Take a pain-reliever.
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