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General Dentistry Treatments for a Chipped Tooth
A chipped tooth is more than an annoyance. Fractures in teeth can cause sensitivity, discoloration and not to mention a distraction from the rest of your healthy teeth. Teeth are strong, but even the hardest material in our body, enamel can get damaged sometimes. When your tooth is chipped, knowing how to manage this injury is essential in preventing further damage.
Chipped teeth happen for many reasons. Often, we see patients who have had a sports injury or who have bitten down on something hard unexpectedly. Chewing ice can also cause chips to form in teeth, as well as bruxism (teeth grinding).
What to do when you notice a chipped tooth
The first thing on the list when your tooth is chipped is to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. The longer you wait to fix a chipped tooth, the tooth and gums are at a higher risk of becoming infected. A simple chipped tooth could turn into a big problem, even leading to tooth loss.
As soon as it happens, take an over-the-counter pain reliever to lessen the pain. The area will likely be throbbing and the gums may be swollen. Ibuprofen is a great option as it helps with the inflammation in addition to relieving pain. Immediately rinse your mouth out with saltwater. Saltwater sanitizes the area, reducing the chance for infection.
Sometimes, a sharp or jagged edge occurs when a tooth is chipped. If this happens, cover it with a piece of softened sugarless chewing gum or wax to protect the tissue inside your mouth.
Try to only eat soft foods while you wait for your dentist appointment. Crunchy foods can cause more irritation.
Treatments for a chipped tooth
Depending on the severity of the fracture and overall oral health, there are a number of procedures that can remedy a chipped tooth.
When a small piece of enamel is chipped and there are no other structural issues threatening the chipped tooth, bonding is an option. The dentist will take a tooth-colored resin and apply it to the edge of the tooth. The resin is then shaped to mimic the natural edge of the tooth before it was chipped. Bonding is best used on the front teeth. When this method is applied to the back teeth, it is known as filling. The resin is similar to a natural tooth in both sheen, texture and color.
These porcelain shells cover the whole front of a damaged tooth. Some enamel must be removed in order to make room for the veneer. Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are custom created in a lab to match each specific case. Veneers are also best used on the front teeth.
Crowns can help if you have lost a big portion of your teeth. An added bonus, crowns add structural support to the broken tooth. Crowns are porcelain, metal or ceramic caps that are placed over a prepared tooth. Dental crowns are resistant to tooth decay and help to protect the tooth from further damage.
Talk to your dentist to find out which of these methods are right for your chipped tooth.
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