A chipped tooth can happen without much force. One moment you are chewing your lunch, and the next, you may feel around and realize part of your tooth is missing. While chipping a tooth doesn’t always happen as quickly as this, accidents can happen, leaving you with a visit to your emergency dentist. If you find yourself in this unfortunate circumstance, it is essential to use our “Dentist Near Me” ZIP search tool and find an emergency dentist right away to prevent infection and potentially save your tooth. Getting a chipped tooth is not only unpleasant and painful, but it can leave a person feeling self-conscious too. Following the tips below should help to care for a chipped tooth before it evolves to a more significant dental issue.
What to Do if you Chip a Tooth
You’re out skateboarding, and in the next moment, a skateboard hits you in your mouth, creating a missing portion of a tooth. Or maybe you’ve been chewing on some ice, and all of a sudden, you hear a crack that implies the injury to a piece of one of your teeth. There are numerous ways patients can chip their teeth – from unexpected accidents to tooth decay. The crucial takeaway is understanding what to do if you end up in this situation. You will want to visit a dentist as quickly as you can to avert an infection from happening and to assess any damage. Not doing will almost certainly lead to the loss of your entire tooth. You can quickly use a dentist near me search to find emergency dentists in your area.
At-Home Care for Chipped Tooth
While waiting to confirm your emergency dental appointment, there are several things that can be done to take care of your chipped tooth. If you are in pain because of the chipped tooth, take an over-the-counter pain reliever to alleviate some of your pain. Using a saltwater solution to rinse your mouth, will help in reducing swelling and lower your chances for gum and tooth infection. Try not to eat hard foods or try chewing on the opposing side of your mouth; being cautious of how the chip on your tooth is impacted. Opt for softer foods such as soup, applesauce, or smoothies. If you have a jutted edge to your tooth that is affecting your cheeks, gums, or other teeth, you can use a piece of dental wax to cover the tooth to prevent it from rubbing on anything else. Many neighborhood pharmacies have dental wax readily available.
Types of Chipped Teeth
The way your tooth breaks can help guide your dentist to which kind of treatment option will be the best for you. The more severe the break, the more intensive your dental procedure will be to fix it. Ultimately, your dentist will work to save your existing tooth. If tooth extraction is inevitable, patients can look to dental implants to restore the tooth that was there.
Cracked teeth can be challenging to detect at times, especially if the crack isn’t entirely noticeable. If you notice some toothache symptoms or sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverages, it could be a sign your tooth has cracked. If you feel pain when you release your bite on something, it could be a serious sign that the tooth has been broken. If you believe you have a cracked or chipped your tooth, you will need a dentist to repair your tooth to prevent infection, tooth decay, or any nerve damage. The crack within your tooth enamel will leave room for bacteria and plaque to become easily trapped, risking tooth decay and infection. Knowing the extent of how deep the crack is affecting your tooth will need to be assessed by a dentist. If it is on the surface or relatively small, your dentist may be able to polish your tooth’s surface, making it smooth once again. If it’s larger, your dentist will look to a filling to repair the rest of your tooth.
A chipped tooth is what most people think of when picturing a dental emergency. Chips can happen from accidents or tooth decay. However, it happened; it will leave a portion of your tooth missing, which isn’t just a cosmetic downside. If the chip is tiny, you might not even need treatment. For larger chips, your dentist can use a dental filling to replace the area of the tooth enamel that broke off. If you have experienced a chipped tooth, be sure to visit your dentist as soon as possible, to immediately assess the damage. The absolute worst thing a person can do is neglect a chipped tooth untreated and susceptible to infection.
A Broken Cusp
The cusp of your tooth is the chewing surface of your tooth. Not only is this part of your tooth crucial to its performance, but chipping it can require more extensive dental work to repair. Luckily, these kinds of breaks typically don’t cause much pain to the patient, as it doesn’t directly impact the nerve within your tooth. Your dentist will need to repair the tooth to prevent any grooves where cavities can occur and to give your tooth it’s proper functioning back.
Severe Chip or Break
These types of breaks generally come from accidents involving trauma to the mouth. There could be bleeding from the tooth when this type of crack occurs and can result in much pain as the nerve of your tooth is typically exposed. If the root of your tooth has been damaged, your dentist will work to remove the nerve by root canal and restore the tooth with a dental crown. With your dental crown, your dentist will be able to work on the color and shape to give the tooth a natural appearance. Some patients may need orthodontic treatment if the tooth has been shifted, depending on the force.
Chipped Tooth by Tooth Decay
Tooth decay works by weakening the enamel on your tooth. When this happens, it can be much easier to crack or break the affected tooth, even from simple chewing. The tooth decay is also happening from within the tooth so that the exterior enamel can crumble away. When this happens, restoring the tooth can be much more complicated, depending on the extent of the damage.
Ways to Prevent a Chipped Tooth
Though nobody can always prevent an accident from happening, there are a few steps you can take towards protecting your smile and lessening your chances of a chipped tooth from occurring. Try using a mouthguard when playing heavy contact sports or hockey. This small act could help save you a trip to your emergency dentist. Always incorporate routine professional teeth cleanings and oral exams with your dentist regularly. In doing so, you’ll help your teeth remain free of tooth decay and potential breaks in the future. Oral exams and dental X-rays are also a way for your dentist to see if a small crack has occurred and if they can save the tooth before the issue worsens. Catching issues as these early on can be critical to saving you time, money, and pain if the conditions lead to more significant problems down the road.
Repairing a Chipped Tooth
Smooth it out
For reasonably small cracks that occur on the surface on your tooth’s enamel, your dentist may be able to polish your tooth and eliminate the small amount of space that could accumulate bacteria and plaque. These are often seen during routine oral exams or dental X-rays. It’s possible you may not notice you have a crack or chip in your tooth, but treating it earlier can help the crack from worsening or from tooth decay developing.
Use a filling or bonding
When the chip, crack or break in a tooth is relatively small, your dentist can use a filling or bonding to restore function to the tooth. If there is any sign of tooth decay at play, your dentist will thoroughly clean the affected tooth before filling the hole are missing areas with a type of resin. This resin is known as bonding and can often have the same color as your natural tooth. If the missing area needs some minor rebuilding, your dentist will scratch the surface of your tooth to give the bonding better adherence. From there, they will shape and mold the bonding material to fill in the missing portion of your tooth. Then, your dentist will use a UV light to harden the composite material and polish it to match the rest of your existing tooth. Fillings and bondings are an excellent option for minor chips and can last a long time with proper at-home care.
If the chip in your tooth hasn’t affected any nerve endings and is purely cosmetic, your dentist may suggest using a dental veneer instead of a filling or dental crown. Veneers are thin sheets of material either composed of porcelain or resin composite that is placed over or on top of an existing tooth. Your dentist will work by shaving down the enamel of your tooth, or teeth, before placing temporary dental veneers on while you have one designed in a lab-based on a mold from your tooth. Some dentist offices do offer same-day veneers that allow their patients to select from a prefabricated veneer that is then shaped to their smile. For most veneers, it will take two visits to your dentist before the procedure is complete.
A great aspect of using veneers to restore the look of a chipped tooth is that you can customize the shape and color of the veneer. While veneers can be on the costlier side of methods to repair a chipped tooth, they last a long time with proper care. They can also provide patients an opportunity to restore the appearance of their smile, going beyond merely repairing the chipped tooth.
Using a dental crown
Dental crowns can be used to fix a variety of dental issues, but using a crown to repair chipped or broken teeth is quite common. You can think of a dental crown as a type of cap that is applied over the tooth, holding it together and shielding it from bacteria and plaque. They are a great option when there isn’t enough of the tooth left to recreate with filling or bonding. Dental crowns are made from different materials, some being metal and others being comprised of porcelain or resin. For visible teeth, patients can opt for porcelain or resin dental crowns to create a more natural-looking appearance.
To apply a dental crown, your dentist will first treat your chipped tooth. If there has been any bleeding or trauma, they will have to determine whether or not a root canal treatment needs to be performed to save the existing tooth. If the tooth cannot be rescued, they will need to extract it and use a dental implant instead. For a tooth that is still intact, your dentist will then take a mold to create an exact impression for the dental crown to be made. You will then receive a temporary dental crown to provide some function and appearance to your tooth. At the same time, your dental crown is being made. Once the permanent dental crown is ready, the temporary dental crown is removed so that the permanent one can be cemented to your tooth.
Needing a dental implant
Sometimes, the chip in your tooth can be so severe that your tooth cannot be saved. If a tooth has been knocked out by the root, or if the damage done cannot leave a tooth in with its integrity, then a dental implant will be needed to recreate a tooth. During this process, if your tooth is not already removed, your dentist will fully extract the tooth. The implant uses a metal screw or frame that is surgically put into your jawbone, provided you have healthy gum and bone tissue.
After the implant is in place, your dentist can use them as a framework to build a tooth around. Typically, patients will have a dental crown put over their dental implant to provide them a full functioning tooth. This procedure provides a sturdier option over others, although they can be quite costly.
Cost of a Chipped Tooth
What you’ll end up paying at the dentist’s office is ultimately based on how severe your chipped tooth is. However, much of this will depend on how many teeth are affected and the type of procedure your dentist will recommend. Options such as veneers or dental implants can cost patients more than other choices, as these can require more invasive practices while providing a cosmetic enhancement to your smile.
To assist with the cost of your emergency dental visit, patients can take ease knowing ToothHQ Dental locations accept most insurance plans. You can also check with your individual provider to see what type of emergency dental care is covered under your policy, and what options you’ll have if you find yourself in a worst-case scenario.
For patients without dental insurance, ToothHQ has several ways patients can minimize or manage the cost of their visit. Emergencies happen unexpectedly, and you might not always have the savings to handle the financial burden taking care of your chipped tooth can have. All affiliated ToothHQ Dental offices run offers and promotions that patients can take advantage of. In other instances, patients can look to payment plans or even dental plans like the OneSmile Dental Plan to assist in the cost of your visit. Price should never deter you from visiting an emergency dentist if you are experiencing a chipped tooth. Leaving your chipped tooth untreated can lead to severe infection. It could potentially cost you more in dental procedures working at fixing what could have been a minor dental issue.
Finding an Emergency Dentist Near Me
When you’ve chipped a tooth, it’s essential to see your dentist as soon as possible. To find the quickest dentist near you, our “dentist near me” search tool will provide convenient local options. There, you will find several ToothHQ Dental Specialists locations to choose from with emergency dentists and their subsequent hours ready for you. To schedule an appointment, you can either visit us online or call us at (214)731-0124. If you are not certain what to do with your chipped tooth in the meantime, give us a call, and one of our friendly staff will assist you with whatever you need. Chipping a tooth doesn’t have to be a nightmare with professional hands always on deck to help.