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What to Do When You Have a Chipped Tooth
There are many possible causes of a chipped tooth. Opening packages with your teeth, biting down on hard foods or objects and facial trauma can chip teeth. Whatever the cause, a chipped tooth can bring discomfort and make your teeth less appealing. Fixing a chipped tooth when you first notice it can prevent further problems. You and your dentist can work together to choose a dental restoration.
Options for chipped teeth
If someone is unable to see the dentist right away, there are options for alleviating pain. The patient can take over-the-counter painkillers and apply ice. It can be important to avoid foods that are too hot or cold to prevent tooth sensitivity. When a dental appointment is made, the dentist will need to examine the tooth before making any recommendations.
For a small and uncomplicated chip, the dentist may suggest bonding. This simple procedure uses a composite material to mold over the healthy areas of the tooth. The dentist will first roughen the enamel and then shape the composite into a natural-appearing extension.
The composite material will match the shade of the patient’s teeth. This means that it will blend into the rest of the natural teeth and be less noticeable. A blue light will harden the material. The composite can last up to 10 years, and so it is ideal for cosmetic tooth chips.
If the chipped tooth is a more severe cosmetic problem, the dentist may recommend veneers to the patient. This restoration is a porcelain cover that attaches to the front of the teeth. The veneer can cover up the chip and make a patient’s smile look complete and unbroken.
Because it is designed specifically for the patient, the veneer will provide a natural, smooth look when finished. A veneer can last for 10 to 20 years if the patient takes proper care of it.
Like veneers, crowns are porcelain caps for chipped or cracked teeth. The main difference between the two is that a crown will protect the entire tooth. Dentists may recommend a patient get a crown if there is significant tooth loss from the chip or crack.
The dentist can repair tooth shape while also preventing further damage like decay or exposed nerves. Crowns can match the rest of the teeth and be unnoticeable within the mouth.
If the patient has chipped teeth beneath the surface of the gumline, the dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. Once the extraction is complete, the dentist can replace the tooth with a dental implant. This will require removing the tooth and allowing time for the space to heal.
Then the dentist can add a metal post to the gumline before adding an implant that will look and feel like a natural tooth. This can prevent infection and root canals. This option takes the longest, as it requires the patient’s mouth to heal between the extraction and the implant placement.
Repairing a chipped tooth
A chipped tooth is a fairly normal dental problem. However, that does not mean that your restoration should be taken lightly. You can take care of the problem by making an appointment with a dentist and discussing the options. With the proper care and the right treatment, you can return to having a healthy, chip-free smile soon.
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