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Chipped tooth? You’ll need to get it fixed. Here’s the why, the how and the costs.

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Dr Teresa Li
April 23, 2024

Oh no. You’ve ordered a delicious starter at the restaurant, bitten into a yummy olive, and the pit has left you Googling ‘how to fix a chipped tooth?’ 

Not the fine dining experience you were hoping for, right?

Not to worry - chipping a tooth is a very common reason people visit the dentist, despite tooth enamel being one of the hardest and most resilient substances in your body. 

In fact, we see close to 65 patients every week needing chipped tooth repair, with the leading causes being:

  • Hard foods: Olive pits, unpopped popcorn kernels, surprise seeds and ice-cubes can wreak havoc on your teeth with the hard contact impact causing the chipped tooth. Ouch!
  • Accidents & trauma: Sporting accidents or even just casually misjudging a step can cause a fall and resulting tooth chip. 
  • Old fillings or restorations: Sometimes these might have worn away or need attention without your knowledge, leaving your teeth vulnerable and you thinking, ‘Hey, my tooth chipped off for no reason!’
  • Cavities: These can cause significant problems as the holes in your tooth can weaken the tooth from the inside, resulting in a chipped tooth, regardless of how gentle you chewed

A patient discusses treatment plan for chipped tooth at TLDental
The first step following a mishap and if you think your tooth chipped off (or is cracked or broken) is to contact us and make an appointment.

Even if you only have a slightly chipped tooth, or have no pain, please do not search the internet for ‘How to fix a chipped tooth at home’ videos, or consider skipping or delaying a visit to your dentist. Avoiding the dentist now can lead to bacteria infecting your tooth soon, causing irreversible damage.

Similarly, without treatment, you may find yourself avoiding the damaged tooth by chewing on the other side of your mouth. This can lead to strain, sensitivity and more issues such as locking of the jaw.

Ready to fix that chipped tooth?

Book your appointment or Download our New Patient Guide to see our full list of treatments and fees

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What to do with a chipped tooth?

The first step following a mishap and if you think your tooth chipped off (or is cracked or broken) is to contact us and make an appointment. If you are in pain, and having trouble eating or sleeping, please book an emergency appointment. 

Then, in the interim, as you wait for your appointment, you will need to:

  • 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.

You can read about other ways to look after your teeth while you wait for your dentist appointment here.

A patient undertakes chipped tooth treatment at TL Dental
A chipped tooth’s treatment will vary depending on the extent of the damage done, and the previous condition of the tooth.

And what if you choose not to fix your chipped front tooth (or any tooth?)

Even if you feel that cosmetically, you can live with having a chipped tooth - even a chipped front tooth, you still don’t really know what’s going on with that chipped tooth inside

In fact, if the tooth has also cracked you may not:

  • be aware of it
  • be able to see the crack
  • know of the symptoms associated with it.

Unlike a tooth chip that breaks off, cracks in teeth can be so tiny that they barely show up on an x-ray, yet can result in: 

  • sensitivity to hot and cold 
  • pain with eating or chewing 
  • toothache 
  • bad breath.

These symptoms and risks, paired with those from not fixing a chipped tooth (e.g. infection, lock jaw from overcompensation use) make booking an appointment with your dentist Port Macquarie the smartest option health-wise, and financially, before things escalate.

A child checks a chipped tooth at TL Dental
Chipping a tooth is a very common reason people visit the dentist.

Chipped tooth repair - the process

A chipped tooth’s treatment will vary depending on the extent of the damage done,  and the previous condition of the tooth. As it’s tricky to tell exactly how much damage there is by sight alone, at TL Dental we will use digital x-rays and intra-oral cameras so we can assess this immediately, and we can show it to you on the screen, too. 

Subsequent repair treatments might include:

  • Fillings: If the tooth hasn’t endured any previous breakage and now has only minor damage, your dentist might be able to use a small filling to repair it. In this case, the tooth can be fixed on the spot.
  • Bonding via composite: This is an inexpensive and quick procedure for minor chipping, and can be done in one appointment. It’s typically performed on front teeth or those you can see when you smile. Our experienced dentists will make sure the composite resin colour-matches the surrounding tooth for a natural appearance.
  • Dental veneers for front teeth: For a chipped front tooth or front teeth, a veneer is a favoured, strong and natural-looking 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 thanks to the CEREC technology we have at our clinic, where we literally make and fit the crown right here, on the same day as your visit.
  • 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 the worst-case scenario and we’ll always do all we can to save your tooth first!

What is the chipped tooth repair cost at TL Dental?

Costs will vary depending on the level of tooth damage and the treatment required, but a tooth filling starts from $240. 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.

To end - it’s important to emphasise that while you may not be too bothered by the chipped tooth ‘look’ or feel, it really does need to be seen by a dentist as soon as possible, to prevent any further damage or serious infection.

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