A chipped tooth is a common albeit painful and unpleasant experience. Maybe you’ve been chewing some hard candy or crunching on an ice cube when suddenly you feel something sharp and pokey bouncing around your mouth. It hits you pretty quickly – you just chipped your tooth. But it does not always happen while you’re chewing on something – thanks to your enamel, your teeth tend to be quite durable, as long as the enamel is healthy. Falling on your face, taking a blow to your jaw, or grinding your teeth while you sleep are some of the other things that can break or chip a tooth. If it happens to you, there’s no reason to panic. It might look embarrassing, and you’re likely to experience some pain, but there are many things a dentist can do to fix it. The trained experts at Alpine Dental Health are specially trained to help in this area.
How to take care of a chipped tooth
If you chip your tooth, the first thing you should do is contact your dentist’s office and make the soonest appointment possible. If you wait too long, your tooth could see even more damage or — depending on the severity — become infected, which might result in you losing the tooth completely. This happens rarely, but you shouldn’t take any chances. Once you’ve got an appointment on the books, there are a few self-care techniques you can practice at home.
AcetaminophenTake this over-the-counter medication if you’re experiencing pain. Acetaminophen will also help reduce any swelling or inflammation that might also occur after the incident that chipped your tooth. Use as directed.
Dental waxIf your chipped tooth results in a sharp edge, use this to cover it up so you can avoid cutting your tongue or the inside of your mouth. Dental wax can be found in stores alongside acetaminophen.
Soft foodsYou want to avoid making matters worse, so avoid eating solid food until your dentist gives you the go-ahead. The best soft foods for a chipped tooth are oatmeal, low-sugar yogurt, soup, roasted squash, steamed vegetables, polenta, and flaky white fish (lightly seasoned).
Chipped tooth treatments
Treatment for a chipped tooth falls under the category of cosmetic procedures. Depending on the severity, your dentist has several treatments to choose from. You might be in and out in a single visit, or it might require multiple treatments. The dentist will know the best way forward. Here are some of the treatments they could recommend:
Dental bondingIf the tooth in question can be seen when you smile, your dentist could create a dental bond. In this procedure, a tooth-colored resin is used to fill in the chipped portion. Then, the dentist shapes the material to look like a natural tooth and uses ultraviolet light to harden it. It’s a safe, quick, and non-invasive treatment.
Dental crownIn the event that the chip is larger, in the back of your mouth, or the tooth has a lot of decay, your dentist might opt to cover it with a crown. Crowns can be made from metal, porcelain, or resin, and each type has unique aspects that your dentist will explain. Getting a crown usually happens over two visits. A crown is a stronger and more durable way to restore and protect a tooth, versus a bonding procedure, which is used for smaller restorations.
VeneersWhen it’s the front teeth that are broken or chipped, veneers can be a good option. The process creates a very natural-looking tooth to restore your smile.–The dentist uses an impression of your teeth to customize a very thin shell that is bonded to the front of the teeth. –Similar to a dental bond, a veneer is made of tooth-colored resin, but it covers the whole front of the tooth while a thicker portion replaces the broken or chipped area.
Root canalWhen your chipped tooth is so severe that it exposes the nerves or blood vessels in your gums, you’ll likely need a root canal. Without one, bacteria can infect the wound and you might end up losing the tooth completely. This happens rarely, but there is cause for concern regardless. While not especially painful, root canals fall under the medical procedure category, and your general dentist is a trusted first stop to diagnose and provide treatment.
If you chipped a tooth and need a cosmetic procedure to take care of it, request an appointment at Alpine Dental Health today. If you’re experiencing extreme pain or bleeding after chipping a tooth, we also offer emergency dental services to get you seen as quickly as possible. If you are having swelling, pain, and bleeding outside of regular office hours, please seek care from an Urgent Care Clinic or ER.