Have you ever had a chipped or broken tooth? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people have this dental problem every single year. Luckily, there are a few different treatment options.
Whether caused by an injury or while eating, experiencing a chipped or broken tooth is completely normal. Depending on the severity of the damage, a dentist can usually repair these teeth pretty quickly and easily.
Keep reading to learn how to care for a chipped or broken tooth, including the most common treatment options.
How to Care for a Chipped or Broken Tooth
After noticing your chipped or broken tooth, there’s no need to worry. A dentist can typically solve these issues right away. However, don\’t wait. As soon as you notice the problem, call your dentist right away. If you wait too long, this could cause more damage or an infection, which could lead to losing the tooth.
However, since you may not be able to visit the dentist the day of the damage, follow these self-care tips to limit pain and prevent further complications:
- Only eat soft foods and never bite down on the chipped tooth.
- For pain, taking an over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen can provide relief.
- If your tooth now has a sharp or jagged edge, apply paraffin wax or sugar-free gum over the area. This can prevent cutting your tongue or cheek.
The discomfort you experience depends on the size of the break, the location, and the reason for it breaking. When it comes to treatment, there are a variety of options. The treatment best suited for you depends on how badly the tooth is damaged. If the chip is severe, there could be an extensive procedure. But if it’s minor, the break could be repaired in one quick office visit.
Repairing a Chipped or Broken Tooth
A dentist uses a variety of techniques to repair a tooth that’s broken or chipped. Here are the most common treatment options:
Filling or Bonding
When most people chip a tooth, they only need a minor repair. For this procedure, a dentist will add a filling to the affected area. However, if the damaged tooth can be seen when you smile, the doctor will probably use a procedure called bonding. This involves a type of filling made out of composite resin that’s colored just like a tooth.
During a bonding procedure, a dentist will roughen your tooth’s surface in order for the material to stick. After using a liquid or gel for etching the tooth’s surface, the dentist will then apply an adhesive material. Next, the dental expert adds tooth-colored resin to the chipped area, then shapes the bonding substance to resemble a natural tooth. Lastly, an ultraviolet light is used to cure, or harden, the material.
Dental Crown or Cap
Sometimes a break results in a large piece of tooth falling off. In this case, or if there’s excessive decay, a dentist may decide to cover the area with a dental cap or crown. This tooth-shaped cap works to protect your tooth from further damage, and to also boost its strength and appearance.
These permanent crowns come in a few different varieties. They are usually made out of ceramic, but can also be metal or porcelain-fused-to-metal.
After your dentist examines the tooth, she will discuss her findings and discuss the best option for you. For something strong and long-lasting, many dentists and patients go for a ceramic crown that also looks more like a natural tooth. However, metal crowns are still done in certain situations.
On some occasions, a tooth may be so severely damaged that more extensive work needs to be done. This could include root canal therapy, post placement, or even extraction. Post placement is completed after root canal therapy and is used to reinforce the part of the tooth that will hold onto a crown. If there is not a lot of healthy, strong tooth structure, a post can bring some much needed internal stability to the tooth and crown.
Receiving a crown is a straightforward process that typically happens over two office visits. The first appointment is used to take x-rays and examine the area. If no further issues are found, the dentist will add a numbing agent and remove a small portion of your tooth (for the dental crown to fit).
When the tooth is ready for a crown, the dentist will use a putty-like substance to make an impression of the area. This is then sent to a lab where the crown is produced. While the crown is being fabricated in one of our top labs, the tooth is covered with a temporary crown for protection.
After a couple weeks, you’ll have another dental visit where the finished crown is applied. The dentist will first remove the temporary crown and ensure the new crown fits perfectly.
If you want a chipped tooth to look as close as possible to a normal tooth, veneers may be the best option. A dental veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that’s colored just like a tooth. Using a special cement, this material is applied directly to the front of the tooth. Given their incredible appearance, veneers are mostly used on front teeth.
In order to place veneers, a dentist may first remove a very thin layer of enamel from the tooth’s surface. Then, a tooth impression is made and sent to a cosmetic dental lab. After two to three weeks the veneer will be ready. Great care is taken to make sure the veneer is as natural and beautiful as the surrounding teeth. The next procedure involves etching the tooth’s surface, adding a dental cement, and placing the veneer in the desired position. The hardening process happens very quickly with the help of a special light.
Visit Our Dental Practice Today
Do you currently have a chipped or broken tooth? Need a simple dental checkup? Whether you’re looking for extensive dental treatment or a quick exam, Smile Hilliard has you covered. Located in Hilliard, Ohio, we’re a trusted dental provider that’s here for all of your dental needs.
From bonding and fillings to root canals and crowns, we have a professional team that can effectively treat your chipped or broken teeth.
Call Smile Hilliard today to schedule an appointment with our caring team of dental specialists!