Chipped Tooth, Now What? Here Are Your Options
Ugh. You’ve chipped your tooth.
As strong and resilient as your teeth are (tooth enamel is one of the hardest substances in your body), chipping part of your tooth or breaking a tooth is a part of life. So what to do when it happens?
Firstly let’s look at some causes of broken and chipped teeth.
- Eating hard foods. Mishaps, from biting into an olive pit to chomping on an un-popped popcorn kernel, can wreak havoc on your teeth causing chips and breaks from contact with hard objects. Ouch.
- Accidents & trauma. Sporting accidents or even just accidentally falling over can cause a chipped tooth. Unfortunately, there are lots of things we do in our day to day lives that can result in accidental tooth damage.
- Old fillings or restorations that have worn away or need attention leave your teeth vulnerable to chips and breaks from the constant assault of eating and drinking.
- Cavities cause holes in your tooth and weaken it from the inside, leading it to break or chip as it is no longer able to support the constant biting and chewing.
If you chip or break part of your tooth, you mightn’t feel any pain at first. This may lead you to consider skipping or delaying a visit to your dentist. But avoiding the dentist now can lead to bacteria infecting your tooth, causing irreversible damage.
You may also find yourself avoiding the damaged tooth by chewing on the other side of your mouth. This may lead to strain, sensitivity and more issues such as locking of the jaw.
What about a Cracked tooth?
If you have a cracked tooth, you may not:
- be aware of it
- be able to see the crack
- know of the symptoms associated with it
Unlike a chip that breaks off, cracks can be so tiny they barely show up on an x-ray.
Symptoms of a cracked tooth include:
- sensitivity to hot and cold
- pain with eating or chewing
- bad breath
If you notice any of the symptoms above it’s time to see your dentist immediately.
Procedure for a damaged or chipped tooth
Before you visit your dental practice:
- Use salt water to rinse your mouth to wash away any bacteria
- Avoid food and drinks that are hot or cold
- Consume over the counter painkillers if required.
Chipped tooth treatment options
Depending on the damage and previous condition of the tooth, treatment will vary and may include:
- Fillings: If the tooth hasn’t any previous breakage and only minor damage, your dentist might be able use a small filling to repair it. In this case, the tooth can be fixed on the spot.
- Dental Veneer: For chipped front teeth, a porcelain veneer is an option (usually made of composite material or porcelain).
- Dental crown: A dental crown may be required if the chewing surface or previous filling of the tooth has damage and it is too big for a filling. Depending on your situation you may be able to get a same-day crown with our CEREC technology.
- Root Canal Therapy: For severely damaged teeth, root canal treatment might be required. This treatment requires cleaning the infected tissue from inside the tooth and removing the damaged part. The tooth roots are then filled and a crown placed over the tooth to make it strong again.
- Tooth Removal: In severe cases, tooth removal may be the only option. The missing tooth is replaced with dental implants or a dental bridge. But don’t panic, this is a worst-case scenario and first, we do all we can to save the tooth!
How much will it cost?
Costs will vary depending on the level of tooth damage and the treatment required. Your dentist will be able to provide an assessment to determine the state of your tooth and a recommended treatment. You may be able to access finance options and be eligible for rebates from your health fund. Call us today on (02) 6583 4055 to learn more.