There you are, enjoying a dinner out with friends at the end of a long week. But, just as you’re biting into something, you hear…crack. Yikes! After you get over the shock of hearing that horrible sound, you take a look at your teeth and discover that you’ve chipped one. While this situation would be alarming for anyone, rest assured that there are multiple ways an emergency dentist can repair the damage from a chipped tooth and beautifully restore your smile. Below, you’ll learn about the steps you should take after chipping a tooth and what your treatment options are.
What Should You Do After Chipping a Tooth?
First, rinse your mouth out with lukewarm water. Unless the chip is large, you probably won’t be in much pain. But, if necessary, take over-the-counter pain medication and apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek. If you have a rough edge that’s irritating your tongue, cover it with dental wax from the store. When eating and drinking, avoid extreme temperatures and hard or crunchy foods.
Regardless of how extensive a chip is, it’s important to see a dentist to have it evaluated, so be sure to call to schedule an appointment right away. Even if the damage is minor, the tooth’s structural integrity will be compromised, making it more susceptible to breaking again later.
Dental Treatment For a Chipped Tooth
Depending on how large or small a chip is, treatment can vary a lot. Here are some of the possible procedures an emergency dentist may recommend:
- – Smoothing the edge of the tooth – For very small chips that have only affected the edge of the chewing surface, a dentist may simply smooth the rough edge.
- – A tooth-colored filling – For chips that are still relatively small, a tooth-colored filling may be all that’s necessary. However, the location of the chip will be a factor here. For example, the edge of a front tooth takes a lot of biting force and may need a stronger restoration such as veneer or crown. A filling alone may be prone to breaking off and not lasting very long.
- – Veneers – Veneers are made from strong, durable materials such as porcelain and are matched color, size and shape to the rest of your smile to look very natural. They’re cemented to the front surface of your teeth and can last 10-15 years with proper care. Just like new siding on a house gives it a whole new appearance, a veneer will completely mask a chipped tooth underneath.
- – Dental crowns – If you have a large chip, your tooth may not be strong enough to support a filling. In these cases, a dental crown may be necessary to restore your tooth’s shape and strength. If the chip is even more severe and has gone through the center of the tooth (where the nerve and blood supply are located), a root canal may be necessary. This will relieve any pain while also preventing the tooth from needing to be extracted.
Hopefully, you’ll never chip one of your teeth! But, just in case, you’ll have an idea of your treatment options and how to handle the situation until you can see a dentist.
About the Author
Dr. Pamela West is an award-winning dentist who’s known for outstanding restorative and cosmetic dentistry. She offers a wide variety of restorative treatments for any situation and always carefully evaluates chips and breaks so she can make the most conservative recommendation possible. If you have a chipped tooth and have any questions, she can be reached via her website.