Teeth can be damaged in any number of ways, and the damage can be slight or extensive depending on the condition of your teeth and the type of injury. Unless the damage is a minor chip, there’s no permanent way to fix it without seeing a dentist. The best thing you can do in the meantime is to address the pain, protect your tooth and the inside of your mouth to avoid further injury.
What to do if you chip or crack a tooth?
There are several reasons that a tooth can become cracked or chipped; sports injuries, accidents, teeth grinding, or even biting into hard foods can cause teeth to crack or break. There are many ways to repair these damages, but the first step is to consult your dentist for your options in restoring the function and appearance of your teeth.
Samantha Rawdin, explains her experience with chipped or cracked teeth, “I often have patients who come into the office with chipped teeth (even more so in this stressful world we’re living in!) and are concerned about whether or not your dentist can fix it. The good news: chipped teeth are often easy to fix with just some simple bonding material! Depending on the chip’s size, anesthesia isn’t even necessary most of the time, and the whole procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes. However, if the chip is large or there’s an underlying issue such as a cavity, a more definitive restoration, such as a veneer, may be required. And, if it’s a front tooth that needs a veneer, I often recommend that both front teeth are treated. The rationale here is that matching a front tooth is exceptionally difficult, and the front teeth are the first things people notice when looking at a smile.”
The top 5 ways your dentist can fix a chipped tooth
It’s crucial to fix a chipped tooth as soon as it happens to ensure you don’t cause further damage. Your dentist will always offer the best resolutions depending on your situation, so make sure to make an appointment as soon as possible.
For tiny chips in your front tooth, your dentist might be able to polish and buff the tooth, so the bottom edge is even again. However, this will only be an option for tiny chips, as filing away too much of your tooth enamel can lead to tooth sensitivity.
For small chips, your dentist will probably suggest bonding. This is a simple procedure where a composite material is molded over the tooth’s healthy area to correct the chip. Your dentist will first roughen up the remaining enamel and shape the composite to create a natural-looking extension. He or she then sets the composite using a blue light that instantly hardens the material. When taken good care of, bonding can last up to 10 years and is ideal for small, cosmetic chips.
If your cracked tooth poses a more severe cosmetic issue, you might opt for dental veneers. These restorations are essentially porcelain covers on the front of your teeth that give the appearance of a smooth, natural look. You can have one veneer installed or several, but they can be expensive in high quantities.
Crowns, like veneers, are also porcelain covers for the teeth. The difference between crowns and veneers is that a crown shields the entire tooth, whereas a veneer only covers the tooth’s forward-facing part. Crowns are more appropriate when a cracked tooth causes the loss of a large portion of the original tooth. They can correct the tooth shape and repair your smile while preventing further damage such as tooth decay and exposed nerves.
Some dental professionals would recommend implants if your tooth has been cracked just before the surface of the gum line, as you could have the tooth removed and replaced with a dental implant. By removing the tooth and allowing the space to heal, your dentist can add a metal post in the gum line before installing an implant that looks and feels like a real tooth. This helps you avoid infection and a future root canal. Just remember it may take the longest, as your mouth will need proper time to heal between the extraction and the implant.
A chipped tooth is a relatively common dental issue, but that doesn’t mean your fix should be run-of-the-mill. Take care of the problem quickly by making an appointment and discussing options with your dentist.
Cracked tooth syndrome starts with cracks in the teeth that are too small to appear on a dental x-ray. The damages can occur from chronic teeth grinding (bruxism) or from tooth or jaw alignment that puts a disproportionate amount of pressure on a particular tooth or teeth. Cracked teeth syndrome usually makes the molars or back teeth hurt because they do most chewing work. If you have cracked tooth syndrome, you may only notice that your teeth hurt when you bite down in a certain way, in contrast to the more frequent tooth pain associated with a tooth abscess or a cavity.
Dr. Jin Lin, explains her advice to patients with chipped teeth, “The best way to fix a chipped tooth depends on the severity of the chip. For a minor chip, a dentist may be able to file down the tooth’s edges to smooth them. A deeper chip typically requires either a white filling bonding (a procedure where the white resin is applied to the chipped edge of the tooth) or a crown (a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a damaged tooth).”
Your dental professional can use special tools to test your teeth for possible cracks. Treatment usually involves a tooth crown for mild cases, but a root canal may be necessary if the tooth crack impacts the tooth pulp. If the tooth crack penetrates down to the jaw, the tooth will need to be removed.
Why choose Swedish Dental?
At Swedish Dental, we specialize in dental implants and aesthetic dentistry and always strive for the best result achievable. Swedish dental also offers conventional treatment such as fillings, endodontic and hygienist treatments and cosmetic dentistry. If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, don’t hesitate to give us a call to find out how we can help you.