As you get older, your teeth weaken which can make them more susceptible to chipping. Even if a chip on your tooth is small and may appear to be insignificant, it should never be left untreated.
The broken tooth can cause further harm or may be prone to infections which can cause a range of health problems. While it’s recommended that you see a dentist as soon as you can, as circumstances will have it, this may not be possible. Along with available treatment options for chipped teeth, this article will also give tips of what you can do until you are able to get it checked.
While Waiting To See The Dentist
One of the most important steps to take while you’re waiting to see the dentist is to cover the chipped tooth. Some items that you can use include dental wax, sugar-free gum or even a tea bag. This will protect your gums and tongue from cuts or scrapes. If you experience pain and inflammation, feel free to use painkillers such as ibuprofen. However, if the painkillers are not compatible with medication that you are using at the time, you can also try using clove oil on the painful spots which will help to numb the area surrounding the chipped tooth. Icing the outside of your face or cheek will also help to reduce inflammation. Lastly, avoid eating any hard foods until you’ve had the tooth checked.
Available Treatment Options
If you have a very small chip this will usually be smoothed over by your dentist. Larger or deeper chips have to be repaired and will require different procedures based on the severity. These options include bonding, veneers, a crown, a root canal or a dental implant.
This is a simple and durable solution for minor chips. The dentist prepares the tooth then applies and moulds a tooth-coloured composite resin over it. Once dried and hardened, it’s then polished and shaped to match the rest of your teeth.
Essentially, a dental veneer is a thin shell of tooth-coloured porcelain or resin composite material that covers the whole front of the tooth. The dentist first makes an impression of the tooth and sends it to a lab to be made. A temporary veneer is worn until the permanent one is ready to be bonded to the tooth.
A crown is done in instances where a large portion of the tooth has broken off. A crown is a tooth-shaped cap, made to protect the tooth and improve its appearance. One the crown is made, the dentist cements it in place. At times, a filling may be used to ‘build-up’ the tooth and help to hold the crown in place.
If a chip is large and deep enough to expose the nerves and blood vessels in the centre of the tooth this can lead to infection and a great deal of pain. In this instance, the pulp is removed and the space created as a result which is known as the root canal will then be cleaned and sealed. In most cases, the tooth is covered with a crown to protect what’s left of the actual tooth.
When a chip leads to a crack that goes under your gum line, the tooth has to be extracted. That’s where implants come in to replace the missing tooth. While you may think that you don’t have to replace the tooth, not doing so can lead to more problems in the long run.
Preventing Chipped Teeth
Repairing chipped teeth can be expensive and it’s no walk in the park. The following are helpful tips that you can adopt to decrease the likelihood of this occurring again.
- Maintain strong tooth enamel by practising good oral hygiene which will keep cavities at bay.
- If you grind your teeth while sleeping, be sure to wear a mouthguard.
- Avoid chewing hard candies and ice.
- Do not chew on hard, non-food items such as pen covers.
- Do not use teeth for tasks that don’t involve chewing food such as opening bottles, holding objects or opening snack bags.
- Immediately notify your dentist of any cracks in your teeth.