Enamel is the strongest material in the body, but sometimes it doesn’t take much to chip a tooth, especially if the tooth has some previous decay.
Sometimes it can be as easy as chewing on an ice cube, some hard candy, or biting into a firm apple. Other common causes for chipping a tooth include falls, fights and other trauma to the face.
In the event of a chipped tooth, you should contact your dentist straight away. Chips, cracks and fractures will get worse over time. The worst-case scenario is getting an infection and losing the tooth.
You can book an appointment with us online or by calling 07 4054 2203.
In the event that you can’t get an appointment straight away, the same tips that work for toothaches will help you out temporarily:
Rinse with salt water
Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water, and rinse your mouth very gently – but don’t drink it! This may remove some of the bacteria from your mouth, and can help settle swelling.
Take pain relief as required if your tooth is painful or sore. Over-the-counter pain relief like Panadol, Ibuprofen or Aspirin should be all you need.
Temporarily change your diet
Changing to a soft food diet may be a good idea, especially if the chip is serious. Avoid biting down on the damaged tooth, and avoid hot and cold drinks.
Cover the chip
Cover the edge of your chipped tooth with a piece of sugarfree chewing gum or wax to keep it from cutting your tongue or the inside of your lip or cheek.
How dentists repair chipped teeth
Dentists have a number of options available when repairing a chipped tooth, depending on the severity of the damage.
Dental filling or bonding are the top alternatives for small chips where there is no structural damage. As this is just a surface level procedure, it usually won’t require any local anaesthetic or numbing, and also won’t take much time.
Dental crowns are used if a larger piece of the tooth has been broken off. This is a little more invasive, and may include the dentist grinding or filing away more of the tooth so that we can fit a cap or crown over the top. We are proud to say that our own specialist staff mill our own crowns in-house. This means that we are able to provide same day crowns!
Dental veneers are an option if just the front of the tooth has been damaged. As with crowns, the dentist may have to grind away some of the enamel layer to make room for the veneer, which will then be fastened with cement. In the end, your tooth will look as good as new, and it will be impossible to tell that it is a veneer.
In very serious cases of teeth breaking or fracturing, a root canal treatment will need to be made. Big breaks will expose the tooth’s pulp, the soft centre that houses both nerves and blood vessels.
The danger here is that the exposed pulp can easily become damaged or infected. Keep an eye out for teeth that hurt, change colour, or are sensitive to heat. Dead or infected pulp will need to be removed.
Root canal therapy involves removing the dead pulp, cleaning the root canal, and then sealing it with a cap. Many people have stories of how awful this can be, but the truth is that this is now a routine procedure that shouldn’t concern you very much.
Suspect that you have damaged a tooth? Book an appointment online or give us a call on 07 4054 2203.