Chipped teeth might seem harmless, but even minor chips require attention from a dentist in order to prevent further damage.
Chipped teeth can be the result of biting into hard foods, opening plastic wrappers with your teeth, or simply going about your day-to-day life. Injuries to the mouth are another common cause — including trips and falls, accidents in sports, and other high-impact scenarios.
So, what should you do if you chip a tooth? As soon as you discover a chip, there are some safety precautions you should take. Then, be sure to visit your dentist to see if you need a restorative procedure.
Here’s why it’s important to address chipped teeth, and how dentists can restore your smile back to normal.
What to Do About a Chipped Tooth
While some chips are deep, painful injuries, others are minor breaks in the enamel that you may barely notice at all. If you experience a high-stress episode, like a blow to the face, make sure to check your teeth for chips.
After you chip a tooth, rinse your mouth out with water or mouthwash to flush out bacteria-laden food particles from the surface of your tooth. If your chipped tooth is causing you pain, make sure to apply cold to your cheek or jaw (wherever the tooth is located), and take a moderate dose of over-the-counter pain meds until your dental appointment.
When a chip is painful or noticeable, the best action you can take is to visit your dentist. A dentist will determine whether your chip is serious enough for restorative action, and, if so, which procedure to use.
How Do Dentists Fix Chipped Teeth?
When untreated, chipped teeth can have serious effects on your dental health as well as on your appearance, so it is important to repair a chip as soon as it occurs. Your dentist will choose from a variety of restorative techniques based on the type of chip. These techniques include:
- Polishing. Polishing is the process of placing resin on an uneven edge of your tooth to smooth out the surface. Many minor and cosmetic chips can be addressed with polishing, which is usually a quick and simple procedure.
- Bonding. Similar to polishing, bonding is used when a minor chip needs a long-term fix. Bonding seals up small surface-level chips and very thin cracks. The bonding process involves molding a restorative resin, then hardening the resin with a blue light.
- Veneers. A veneer is a restorative solution that covers the front surface of your tooth, used mostly for larger cosmetic chips. Veneers can be expensive, but many people find the longevity of veneers makes them a worthwhile investment.
- Crown placement. A crown covers the full surface of a tooth. Crowns are helpful if your tooth has suffered major damage and requires other corrective procedures, like a root canal. Crowns are also good for preventing infection, so they are a go-to solution for very deep chips.
- Tooth extraction and implant placement. When a tooth is severely fractured, your dentist may recommend extracting the entire tooth. Replacing a tooth with an implant helps to eliminate discomfort, and to restore the natural feel and appearance of your tooth.
Chipping a tooth is always a frustrating process, but restorative solutions can help to eliminate your discomfort entirely.
Restoring Chipped Teeth at Espire
Chipped teeth can occur anywhere in your mouth, and your molars are actually more likely than your front teeth to chip. No matter where a chip occurs, it’s important to schedule a dental appointment as quickly as possible.
For professional tooth restoration, visit the experts at Espire. Our dentists offer experienced dental care with a patient-centered approach. If you chip a tooth, don’t wait until your injury grows larger and more painful. Schedule an appointment at Espire today — your smile is too important to wait!