How to Handle a Chipped Tooth

Your teeth are designed to last a lifetime, but let’s face it, life is unpredictable. From biting down on a hard kernel of unpopped popcorn to taking a literal hit for the team, teeth can sometimes fracture, split, or chip. Depending upon the extent of the damage, there are some steps we can take together to restore both form and function to your teeth.

Our team at Sacred Dental & Associates, headed up by Dr. Agatha Nwizu, is on call for any dental problem. Our goal is to ensure that our patients in Stockbridge and Conyers, Georgia, have the tools they need for a lifetime of great oral health, allowing them to chew, speak, and smile with ease.

If you sustain an injury to your tooth, here are the steps you should take and a look at how we can repair the damage.

There are chips, and then there are chips

When a piece of your tooth breaks off, your next steps are largely dictated by the size of the chip or fracture. If just a small piece of your tooth chips off and you don’t feel any pain, you’re in luck — the odds are that the damage is mostly cosmetic.

If there are sharp edges, you should protect the soft tissue surrounding the area by sticking a piece of dental wax over your tooth (or a piece of sugar-free gum, in a pinch). With that in place, just set up an appointment with us so we can repair the chip (more on that in a minute).

Some seemingly benign chips can go on to cause you discomfort, such as when you drink something hot or cold, so it’s always a good idea to have us take a look at any chip, no matter how small.

If you experience pain, this usually means that your chip is more of a break, and it’s affecting the highly sensitive nerves in your tooth. If this is the case, your first step is to prevent further damage by gently biting down on a small piece of gauze or a wet tea bag to stabilize your tooth. If you’re bleeding, first gently rinse your mouth with warm water and then apply the compress.

At some point during this time, please give us a call, because it’s important that we repair the damage quickly. The discomfort alone will likely compel you to call, but in case you think you’ll just wait it out, a large chip or crack threatens your entire tooth — bacteria are opportunistic and love nothing more than an opening to make their way inside and wreak considerable havoc.

Like-new repairs

There are several ways that we fix chips to restore function to your tooth and keep your smile looking great. If the chip is minor, we may just file away the sharp edges and use a composite filling material to fill in the gap. We also turn to dental bonding, a treatment in which we cover up the crack with a tooth-colored composite resin.

If your chip or fracture is more substantial, we first ensure that your tooth is healthy underneath and then we recommend one of several solutions depending upon the location of the chipped tooth. For back teeth, for example, we typically recommend placing a crown over the tooth to protect it from further damage.

If you’ve chipped one of your front teeth, dental veneers do a great job of covering up the imperfection. With veneers, we use a very thin “shell” that matches your neighboring teeth perfectly and bond it to your tooth to cover up the chip. Veneers are strong and should serve your chipped tooth well for years to come.

The bottom line is that we have a number of different tools to help you restore your tooth to like-new condition if you sustain a chip or fracture. If you’d like to learn more, simply give us a call or use the online booking tool on this website.

 

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