- 1 What Causes A Chipped Tooth?
- 2 Risk Factors For A Broken or Chipped Tooth
- 3 What Should You Do When You Have A Chipped or Broken Tooth?
- 4 How To Care For A Chipped Tooth
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 Conclusion
Imagine munching on some nuts with joy, and then you can’t chew anymore. You think it’s a stone in your mouth that caused the interruption, and you spit it out. It’s a piece of your broken tooth.
A chipped tooth is the most common type of dental injury. A study in ADA Health Policy Institution’s Covid-19 input poll reported a 53.4% increase in chipped and cracked due to emotional stress in 2020.
Your teeth are strong, but they can still crack, break, or get chipped. When the teeth cracks or break, it causes so much pain, especially when it is exposed to hot, cold, or hard foods. Ever seen people with chips in their front teeth? They find it difficult to smile or do anything that will expose their teeth.
However, having a chipped tooth doesn’t mean that there is no remedy. This article shows you the causes of a chipped tooth and what you should do to fix it before it causes further dental complications.
What Causes A Chipped Tooth?
Dental enamel is one of the hardest tissues in the body; it is still breakable, especially when it has reached its limits.
Many things cause a chipped tooth. Some of the common causes of a chipped tooth include:
- Falls or accidents.
- Grinding your teeth when you’re sleeping.
- Use your teeth as a tool to open packages.
- Biting down on hard substances and food (e.g. hard nuts, ice blocks, hard candy).
- Playing contact sports with no mouth guard.
Chipped teeth are not just painful; they can also affect your smile and overall appearance. Although the pain from a chipped tooth fluctuates, it can be very severe. The severity of the pain occurs when the chipped tooth is exposed to hot or cold food or even while chewing.
The extent of the chip or crack determines the kind of treatment given. It can be a slightly chipped tooth, a small chip, or an entire broken tooth. The treatment can either be an easy one or one that will require serious treatment.
Risk Factors For A Broken or Chipped Tooth
The risk factors of a chipped tooth are those things that weaken the capacity of the enamel, thus making it vulnerable to cracks and breaks. These risk factors include:
- Continuous teeth grinding. It weakens the enamels.
- Tooth decay (cavities). If left untreated for a long time, it can cause worse problems.
- Consuming lots of acid-producing foods, like coffee and spicy foods. Also, consuming sugary foods can produce unhealthy bacteria which attack the enamel.
- Taking excessive alcohol can lead to frequent vomiting. The frequent vomiting, in turn, produces acids in the mouth that weakens and eat up the enamel.
- Heartburn and acid reflux can cause stomach acid to move up to the mouth, weakening the enamel.
- Old age. The older you get, the weaker your enamel becomes. A study showed that most patients with cracked or chipped teeth are 50 years and above.
The second lower molar is usually the section of the teeth most vulnerable to cracks. This is because it holds the pressure of the food when chewing.
Symptoms Of A Chipped Tooth
Many people experience little or no symptoms of chips or cracks in the tooth. You may have noticed an increased tooth sensation while chewing or during exposure to hot and cold substances in your mouth. This increased sensation is a symptom of a chipped tooth.
Other symptoms include:
- Feeling of irregular or sharp-edged surface when you run your tongue across your teeth.
- Painful sensation on the cracked tooth when chewing or biting.
How To Avoid A Chipped Tooth
Taking premium care of your face will save you the stress of having a cracked tooth. Additionally, the texture of food you expose your teeth to can also affect it. To avoid prevent yourself from having a chipped tooth, you should follow premium safety measures like:
- While playing a contact sport like boxing or hockey, ensure you wear a mouth guard.
- Don’t use your teeth for anything other than the original purpose of chewing. No holding onto objects, opening bottles, or even holding onto packages with your teeth.
- Older individuals are at risk of chipped teeth. This is because the dental enamel weakens with age.
- Tooth decay can be a factor. Tooth decays weaken the dental enamel, and when the enamels are weakened, the chance of a chipped tooth is high.
- A previous chipped tooth is susceptible to breaking later on. So, treat a previous chipped tooth with utmost care.
What Should You Do When You Have A Chipped or Broken Tooth?
Most people panic when they discover they have a chipped tooth. This is because, aside from the severe pain or uncomfortable sensation it can cause, it can ruin the appearance of your face. This is even more uncomfortable if you have a job that requires you to smile always. You want to look your best.
However, in that panic mode, you may be tempted to fix it yourself. It is not the best option because you may end up causing more problems than the initial one. The best treatment is from an experienced dentist. Book an appointment with your dentist immediately.
What to Do If You Have a Broken or Chipped Tooth
The moment you realise that you have got a cracked, broken, or chipped tooth, the first thing to do is to rinse your mouth with warm water. Then, apply pressure to stop the bleeding, especially if the crack was caused by an accident or a blow to the face. A cold compress on the outside areas of the face can help with the swelling.
Please bring the piece of the broken tooth to the dentist but ensure it’s wrapped in gauze. However, if the entire tooth comes out of your mouth, rinse it if it looks dirty. Be careful not to wash it with anything besides water.
Place it in a saline solution or a glass of milk and get it to the dentist in 30 minutes.
How To Relieve Pain From A Chipped Tooth
To relieve the pain from a chipped tooth, use warm water to flush the inside of your mouth. Cold compressions should be applied to the outside area every few minutes to reduce swelling.
You can take over-the-counter pain medications and anti-inflammatory as required. Don’t exceed the recommended dosage. You may also need to take clove oil due to its anti-inflammatory and numbing properties.
How To Protect Your Mouth Until You See a Doctor
If it’s a front tooth or even any other tooth that got chipped, ensure it doesn’t slice your tongue. The sharp edge way is very sharp and injures you if you are not careful. You can use dental wax over the tooth’s edges to prevent slices.
Dental waxes can be gotten in drug stores as they carry OTC temporary kits. The wax is only suitable for small cracks and chips. Therefore, using dental wax over a large chip can result in more damage to the tooth.
How To Care For A Chipped Tooth
To avoid complications, it is very important to book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. While waiting for the dentist, you can take over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen after a warm water wash. This will help relieve the pain.
Also, avoid chewing with the chipped tooth. If you must eat, take soft foods. Avoid biting down on the chipped tooth though you may be tempted to do so to relieve the pains.
When Should You See A Dentist?
It is advisable to see a dentist immediately if a chipped tooth is discovered. This may not be life-threatening, so you’ll wait for some hours or days after booking an appointment.
However, if the chipped tooth results from an accident or a traumatic incident accompanied by pains and bleeding, visit the emergency room in the nearest hospital. You need to see the dentist!
Best Treatment Options To Fix A Chipped Tooth
The kind of treatment given to a chipped tooth is dependent on the size and location of the chip. Some repairs can be done in a single visit, while others may require lengthy and expensive procedures.
Some of the best possible solutions to effectively fixing a chipped tooth are:
1. Dental Filling or Bonding
Your dentist can fix small chips with fillings. In cases where the chilled tooth is located in the front tooth or can be seen when you smile, your dentist will resort to bonding.
Bonding involves moulding a composite material over the healthy area of the tooth and the chip. Your dentist first roughens the enamel to make the composite attach. Then, attach and shape the bond to create a natural tooth over your chipped tooth.
Finally, ultraviolet light is used to harden the material. Bonding is a better option for the smallest and simplest chip because:
- It is affordable
- It looks natural and
- It lasts for years (around ten years)
2. Dental Veneers
If the chip in a tooth is a little bigger, veneers are your best option. Unlike bonding that fills small chips, veneers involve placing porcelain covers on the front tooth giving an identical or a better version of the original tooth. It’s just like placing a false nail over a fingernail.
Veneers are cosmetic dental procedures that are great for fixing a chipped tooth and upgrading your smile’s overall look. They are worth investing in as they last longer than bonding; veneers can last for about 20 years.
3. Dental Crowns and Dental Caps
Like veneers, dental crowns, and caps, use porcelain covers for your teeth. The difference comes in veneers being used to cover the front tooth, while a crown covers the entire tooth.
Crowns are not fixed in a single visit to the dentist’s office. Two visits are required—the first for creating the moulds and the second for cementing them.
The dentist may prefer to use dental crowns for treatment when the chips are so visible and most of the tooth is lost. Crowns come in different types and are of different purposes. They are excellent because they engulf the chipped tooth, thereby preventing it from further damage.
4. Root Canal
Root canal treatment is often used to save your teeth. If the majority of your teeth are broken such that the pulp is exposed, root canal treatment is your next call. An exposed pulp can result in a diseased or infected tooth; bacteria from the mouth can enter and infect the pulp.
In root canal therapy, the dead pulp is removed. The root canal is cleaned and then sealed. Sometimes, the remaining tooth uses a crown to protect the weakened tooth.
5. Dental Extraction
There are cases where a root canal can’t save your tooth. The deeper your crack or chip, the more likely you will get a tooth extraction. If the chip extends beyond the gum line, a dental extraction is recommended.
How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Chipped or A Broken Tooth?
For a root canal and crown, it may cost about $2,500- $3,000 alongside cosmetic dentistry. A dental extraction with an implant can cost about $300-$3,500.
The cost of fixing your chipped tooth depends on the severity of the crack. A deeper crack may cost more than a slight chip. In Australia, the costs may differ. However, in My Emergency Dentist, you can get valuable treatment at an affordable price.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Cheapest Way to Fix a Chipped Tooth?
Some chips and cracks are not serious, needing little or no treatment. A dental filling is the cheapest way to fix a chipped tooth.
2. How Long Does Dental Bonding Last?
Dental bonding can last 3-10 years before a replacement is needed.
3. Does a Small Chipped Tooth Need to be Fixed?
A small chipped tooth may not need much repair. It could be reshaped and refiled to match other teeth.
4. How Long Does it Take to Fix a Chipped Tooth at the Dentist?
Your dentist evaluates the damage to the chipped tooth and decides on the best mode of treatment. A dental bonding procedure can take about 30-60 minutes. Root canal treatment can take 90 minutes to 3 hrs.
Having a chipped tooth is very uncomfortable. No matter how you try to ignore it, you cannot deny that it taints the appearance of your smile and your face. When you notice you have chipped a cracked tooth, visit your dentist immediately. Delaying the treatment can cause more pain and lead to dental problems like tooth sores and cavities.
At My Emergency Dentist, we offer immediate treatment for various dental emergencies, including chipped teeth. You can access various treatment options at our dental clinics in South Perth, Ellenbrook, Mindarie, and Belmont. Contact us now to get your chipped tooth treated immediately.