If you have ever had a chipped tooth, you know that it can affect the appeal of your smile. In some cases, a chipped tooth can even cause pain. Fortunately, a chipped tooth can be repaired.
Enamel is the tough outer covering of teeth. While it is one of the strongest substances in the human body, enamel does have its limits. A forceful blow to your mouth can chip a tooth; wear and tear can cause weak spots that are more susceptible to chipping.
A chipped tooth creates a jagged surface that can be sharp against your tongue or cheeks. The tooth itself can be tender or painful, especially if enough of the enamel chips away to expose the layer of dentin or pulp near the center of the tooth. It will be vulnerable to infection too, and this infection can spread to the gums and bone.
Chipped teeth can also cause a cosmetic problem and ruin your smile. What’s worse is that, once chipped, a tooth becomes more susceptible to problems; discomfort or pain associated with a chipped tooth can also increase over time.
Do You have a Chipped Tooth? Here’s What to Do
If your teeth is chipped, see a dentist before your dental problems worsen. Schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist if your chipped tooth causes severe pain or prevents you from eating or sleeping. Otherwise, schedule a regular dental appointment as soon as possible to avoid infection or further damage to your tooth.
Until you can get to your dentist appointment, you can take preliminary steps to ease the pain of a chipped tooth. For example:
Avoid extreme hot or cold foods, as they can over-stimulate the nerve exposed by the chip
Take a dentist-approved pain reliever, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen and naproxen; take acetaminophen, such as the brand name drug Tylenol, if you cannot take anti-inflammatory drugs.
Cover sharp parts with dental wax or sugarless gum to prevent the jagged surface of a chipped tooth from rubbing against your cheek and tongue; covering the tooth can also reduce sensitivity associated with exposed dentin and pulp
Eat soft foods to prevent further chipping or fracture of the tooth.
How Our Dentists Will Fix Your Chipped Teeth
Your dentist can use a variety of techniques to fix chipped teeth, depending on the location and severity of the chip. Your dentist may be able to smooth over simple chips, for example, to restore the cosmetic appearance of the tooth. Severe chips that cause pain, that prevent you from eating or sleeping, or are vulnerable to further breakage may need advanced care.
Smoothing – your dentist may use a sanding disc, fine diamond bur or fine sandpaper to polish and smooth out jagged edges of the chipped tooth
Filling– your dentist may fill a chipped molar at the back of your mouth to prevent further damage to the tooth
Bonding – your dentist may use a tooth-colored resin, known as a dental bonding agent, to correct cosmetic damage to a chipped front tooth
Dental Veneers – to correct cosmetic problems associated with a chipped front tooth, your dentist may recommend dental veneers, which are wafer-thin coverings permanently affixed to the front of a tooth
Root Canal – your dentist may recommend a tooth-saving root canal procedure for a chip that exposes the pulp of the tooth; a root canal procedure involves removing the nerve and root then filling the tooth to prevent infection and further decay
Crowns – your dentist may recommend a crown, which is a tooth-like covering that fits like a cap over a damaged tooth
How to Prevent Chipped Teeth
Chipped teeth can happen, but you can take steps to reduce your risk of chipping a tooth. Avoid biting down on hard candy or ice, for example, and do not chew on hard objects. If you are an athlete or play recreational sports on weekends, wearing dental mouthguards can help.
For more information on how to fix a chipped tooth or for a mouthguard fitting, contact your Raleigh, NC, dentist at Triangle Dentistry. We are committed to providing excellent dental care through empathy for your dental needs and desires.
Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 847-6000