How to fix a chipped tooth

Chipping a tooth is a uniquely starling experience. If it happens while you’re eating something like hard candy or crackers, you might not realize it happened until you feel something on your tongue that doesn’t feel like food. If it happens due to injury, you first realize the pain and might not notice the chip until someone tells you or you look in a mirror. While these scenarios are considerably different, the end result is the same: you’re left in pain and wondering what to do.

After chipping a tooth, it’s important to contact a dentist as quickly as possible for emergency care. If you’re in pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever and rinse your mouth with salt water. If the chip has left the tooth with a jagged or sharp edge, then cover it up with sugarless chewing gum to prevent it from cutting your lips or gums.

Dentists decide which treatment method will best repair the tooth based on the severity of the damage. If the chip is small or if only enamel fell out, then a dentist may be able to repair it in one quick cosmetic dentistry procedure. However, if the damage is more extensive, your dentist will likely have to perform the repair through several steps over the course of multiple office visits. If the affected tooth can be seen when you open your mouth and smile, then the dentist will use a bonding and coloring agent to match the color to the teeth around it, which will prevent the repaired tooth from being easily identified. A dentist may also use a veneer for a tooth that is easily seen when you smile.

Depending on the severity of the chip, your dentist may have to repair it with a dental cap or crown. This is typically the case when the chip occurs on a tooth that already has significant decay or the chip removed a large part of the tooth.

Dental Bonding or Veneers?

Your smile is the first thing others notice about you, so it is important to have the best smile you possibly can. If you have chipped, cracked or stained teeth, you may be considering having dental bonding or veneers installed in order to correct the problem, but which type of dental work do you have done? Is there a difference between bonding and veneers? Deciding on which type of dental work is best suited for your specific needs can be confusing. Basically, veneers are meant to conceal flaws that are more dramatic and dental bonding is usually best for correcting minor imperfections. Still not sure which procedure is the best suited for your needs? Here is a bit more detail on comparing veneers to dental bonding.

What are Veneers?

Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are used to cover the front of your teeth. Veneers are typically used to conceal gaps and/or correct crooked, stained or the appearance of misshapen teeth. The installation of veneers typically requires the removal of some of the enamel and reshaping the tooth. The entire procedure may take several visits to the dentist office, but the final result is a long-lasting, natural appearance. Veneers can often be used to correct a range of dental problems, including:

  • Cracked teeth
  • Large gaps
  • Chipped teeth
  • Teeth that overlap
  • Crooked teeth
  • Severe discoloration and stains

What is Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding uses a composite resin to conceal the imperfections in your teeth. The resin used will be made to match the color of your teeth and will be applied directly to the tooth. Unlike veneers, dental bonding usually doesn’t require the removal of enamel or tooth reshaping, but veneers are usually permanent and dental bonding is not. The resin will be hardened and polished to look just like your natural teeth, but in most situations, it will need to be reapplied eventually. Dental bonding is ideal for those who only need a minor “touch-up”, instead of completely concealing their teeth. For example, this procedure is perfect for concealing a chipped tooth or hiding a small gap. Other conditions that dental bonding can be used for include:

  • Minor stains
  • Chips
  • Gaps
  • Exposed roots from receding gums
  • Cracks
  • Misshapen teeth

In most situations, dental bonding does not look as natural as veneers, because the bonding is not translucent. If you have dental bonding, tooth whitening treatments will typically not whiten stained resin. Whether you choose veneers or dental bonding, it is essential that you keep up with your regular teeth cleaning regimen and schedule routine dental visits for a professional cleaning and to ensure the veneers or bonding is in good condition and doing the job it was designed to do. To determine which procedure is the best suited for your needs, it is recommended that you consult with your dentist beforehand.

The Pros and Cons of Veneers. Are They Worth It?

A person with blemished teeth, in which they might experience issues such as them being crooked, discolored, broken off or have spaces in between them, might consider veneers. However, are they worth it? What are the advantages and disadvantages they present?

Pros:

  • The procedure immediately improves the appearance – As soon as the veneer covering is in place all oral defects disappear. Of course, this would boost a person’s confidence and they would now be more likely to socialize, knowing they can smile comfortably without marred teeth.
  • Since the teeth are custom-made to fit the patients’ mouth, know one will ever know a person is wearing veneers.
  • Unlike some false teeth, for instance dentures, the client can eat and drink as though it was the teeth, in which they had from birth.
  • After the facing is bonded to your teeth, in most cases, you do not have to visit the dentist for any more procedures regarding the veneers. With proper brushing and flossing, they should last for at least 10 years or more.

Cons:

  • Depending on the dental practice, the insurance company and how many teeth require concealment, veneers can be expensive.
  • Since the teeth must be shaven to give the facing a proper surface to adhere to, being void of about one millimeter of enamel might cause sensitivity to hot and cold elements for about a week after the process. However, the sensations will reside soon after. Most likely the dentist will suggest and give the person medication to deal with the pain.
  • Just like teeth, you can ruin your veneers by biting down on hard substances, such as ice cubes, nut shells and candy. Veneers provide a permanent solution to a multitude of problems, so you want to maintain them by developing habits to prevent from pitting or fracturing your facings.

Overall, it depends on the individual’s personal circumstances. A well-trained dental practitioner will be able to examine the patient’s oral history and discuss with them if they would be a good candidate for receiving veneers.

Should I get dental crowns?

Dental crowns are potentially necessary to improve both function and appearance as well as to improve your overall oral health. The American Dental Association explains that a dental crown helps strengthen a tooth that has a large filling when there is no longer enough natural tooth left to hold a filling.

Dentists also apply dental crowns in event of a weak tooth to prevent breakage or to restore an already broken tooth. Additionally, dentists use crowns to attach a bridge or to restore the natural appearance of badly shaped teeth.

What is a dental crown?

The best crown for you depends on your specific situation. Dental crowns are made of resin, porcelain, ceramic or stainless steel. Of these, ceramic and porcelain are the most commonly used for cosmetic purposes.

Colgate indicates that a dental crown procedure usually takes two visits to the dentist and further explains the procedure.

What is the procedure for dental crowns?

When you go to your first visit, the dentist examines each tooth in need of a dental crown. This is to determine whether the tooth is capable of supporting the dental crown. Sometimes a dentist first fills in the tooth so that it can properly receive the crown.

The dentist or practitioner takes impressions to ensure proper size, shape and fit of your crown. The impressions go to the lab where professionals make your crown. You likely wear a temporary crown until your permanent crown is ready.

At your second visit, the dentist seats the permanent crown in place with special adhesive to hold it in place. After a little getting used to, you likely notice that your crown looks and feels and functions like a normal tooth.

At the end, no matter how big or small your chip may be, you should always contact an experienced dentist as quickly as possible. At Serena Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, our dentists are prepared to repair even the most serious damage, so if you’ve just chipped your tooth, call (858) 800 3909 to have your tooth repaired today!

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