A tooth can chip due to a variety of causes. It is important to see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage. In the meantime, there are a few steps you can take.
What Causes Tooth Chips and Cracks?
Our teeth have enamel, a hard coating that protects our teeth and keeps them strong. Unfortunately, this outer layer can crack or chip as a result of an injury to your mouth or because of cavities that weaken the tooth from the inside. When this happens, contact your dentist as soon as possible so we can restore your smile. The ideal time to act is when your tooth has just chipped and not started to decay. This is because we can often fix small chips with a dental bonding treatment instead of using a crown or veneer. If the damage is more extensive, we may need to use a special filling material called a composite resin to restore your tooth. This material is custom-made to match your natural teeth, so nobody will be able to tell that you had a tooth repair done.
How Common Are Tooth Chips and Cracks?
Cracked teeth and chipped teeth are very common in adults and children alike. Sometimes people bite down on something too hard or fall, causing damage to their tooth enamel. Other times, people have thin enamel that leads to weakened teeth that chip easily.
If you think you’ve damaged your tooth enamel, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible to fix the issue. If the damage isn’t taken care of right away, it can lead to further complications in the future. Your dentist will be able to professionally examine your teeth to help determine the best way to restore them. If left untreated, cracked or chipped teeth can also lead to tooth decay and cause infections over time.
Thankfully, there are many restorative dentistry procedures that can be done to fix broken or chipped teeth. These can range from dental crowns and bridges to porcelain veneers and composite fillings. Your dentist will be able to look at your teeth and help you choose the best route for your smile after evaluating the extent of your damage.
How Are Chipped Teeth Repaired?
Chips to teeth should be fixed as soon as possible to prevent further damage, such as fractures or tooth decay. The first way to fix a chipped tooth is to use a cosmetic bonding material to fill in the chip like a puzzle piece. This material is blended to match the color of your tooth perfectly, so it is barely noticeable to the naked eye. If the chip is large, we may need to build up the damaged area with a filling material before we apply the tooth-colored composite resin to it. The filling helps smooth out the surface of the tooth so that the final bonded restoration will fit properly when we place it.
Another way to repair minor chips is to use dental veneers. These thin shells adhere to the front of the tooth to cover over the flaw. In fact, we can even shape and contour these restorations so that they match your other surrounding teeth for a seamless appearance. Veneers are not as expensive as you may imagine, and they are custom crafted for each individual patient. For severe chipping that is affecting the overall structure and health of the tooth, we may recommend a full dental crown. This cap-like restoration completely covers the tooth above the gum line to protect it from further damage and restore its strength.
No matter what type of treatment you need to protect your smile after chipping a tooth, we can help. Call our emergency dentist to schedule an appointment today.