At Robert J. Mysse Family Dentistry, we want our patients to have confident smiles. However, sometimes even the most healthiest smiles can be damaged by a chipped tooth! If you’re wondering what you should do in case you chip your tooth or what we can do to fix it, today’s blog post is for you. Do not be afraid to call us at (512) 310-1500 to arrange an appointment or an emergency session.
It’s really not that hard to break a tooth. It can happen a multitude of ways: drinking from a glass bottle, eating a hard candy, or falling. There are many ways someone can chip their tooth. This is especially true for the edges of your teeth, where the enamel is much more brittle making it easy for small parts of your teeth to chip off.
If you broke, chipped, or fractured your tooth your first action should be call your dentist immediately to arrange an appointment. If you don’t, your tooth could be damaged further or even become infected. However, in the meanwhile here a few steps to take:
- Once you’ve chipped a tooth focus on stopping any bleeding first. Gauze is a perfect material to do this with.
- Rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water
- If your break has a sharp or jagged edge covering your tooth with sugarless chewing gum or dental cement (both are available at most drugstores) to avoid cutting your lip or tongue.
- You may need to take some pain medication (over-the-counter should be fine)
- Only eat soft foods (if you must eat at all before your “emergency” dental appointment)
The next step is determining the treatment that may need to occur. Your dentist will know what the best option is for your chipped or broken tooth once they see it but we will go through the potential treatment options.
For instance, if only a small piece of tooth enamel fell off, the tooth repair can probably be finished in one office visit. A badly damaged tooth, however, will cost more money and the treatment will probably occur over several visits to the dentist.
Smooth and File
A dentist may just smooth/file and polish the chip in the tooth if that’s all that is necessary to fix your chipped tooth! This is usually a quick process and relatively inexpensive.
If you’ve chipped off a small piece of enamel, a filling may be all that is needed. Dental filling or dental bonds are one of the least invasive and easiest treatment options. If the repair can be seen when you smile, your dentist might use bonding instead. Bonding uses a tooth-colored resin which matches your teeth better than a filling. Bonding is a simple procedure. Your dentist will etch the surface of your tooth with a liquid or gel to roughen it. Then an adhesive is added to the tooth and is quickly followed by the bonding material. The adhesive makes sure that the bonding will attach to the tooth. The dentist will shape the bond to make it look like a natural tooth and then hardens the bond with ultraviolet light.
If you need a crown, this probably means that a large part of your tooth broke off. The dentist will grind or file away the tooth and cover it with a crown that will simultaneously protect the the tooth and improve its appearance. Permanent crowns can be made from resin, ceramic, metal, or porcelain fused to metal. Each have their own advantages and which one you or your dentist choose will depend on your needs.
If nearly the entire “top” of the tooth is broken off (with an intact root), you will probably need a root canal. While most people wince at hearing or reading the words “root canal” most root canals are as painful as a regular cavity filling. After the root canal procedure is done, it will be covered with a crown.
Both before and after you go to the dentist and take care of your chipped tooth, make sure to watch out for signs of infection. Pustules can form after traumas to a tooth and can lead to more problems for your tooth.
Remember to call for an appointment if you chip your tooth. We can fix it easily and prevent any more damage to your tooth or mouth. Call Robert J. Mysse Family Dentistry at (512) 310-1500 to arrange an appointment to help you figure out your options for your chipped tooth.