Have you ever wondered about chipped teeth repair? What are the treatment options, and if you should visit an emergency dentist? This article explains how cracked and chipped teeth differ when it’s a dental emergency and the various treatments available.
If you’re feverishly Googling ‘chipped tooth repair’, you’re clearly aware that it can affect your appearance. More importantly, it can cause pain and may even impact your overall oral health. Chipped or cracked teeth can result in pain when chewing food or when exposed to hot or cold temperatures.
In some cases, there may not be any symptoms, although a fracture or missing piece of a tooth may be visible.
Treatment of a chipped or cracked tooth largely depends on the extent of the damage. A dentist may be able to repair tiny cracks or chips quite easily, but others may require more extensive treatment. Sometimes it can be hard to know what constitutes a visit to an emergency dentist.
Understanding a dental emergency
Typically, a dental emergency is when the situation requires urgent attention from a medical professional. Usually, this involves calling an emergency dentist for a same-day appointment. In other cases, an individual may need to go to a hospital emergency department to get medical assistance before seeing a dentist. For example, there may be severe bleeding from the mouth or excessive swelling.
Knowing when you have a dental emergency
Not every cracked or chipped tooth is a dental emergency, and often you can wait to be seen at a scheduled appointment. However, if you are in pain or the tooth’s inner pulp or roots are exposed, it’s best to visit an emergency dentist to prevent it from getting worse. Most dentists keep hours aside in their daily schedule for patients with a dental emergency.
An emergency dentist will get you out of pain, but you will likely need to make a further appointment with your regular dentist for cracked or chipped tooth repair.
Treatments for a broken tooth
There are several types of chipped tooth repair, and which one your dentist recommends depends on the severity of the crack or breakage.
Dental bonding is the easiest and quickest repair for chipped or broken teeth, particularly minor or less complex chips.
The process involves moulding tooth-coloured composite resin over the chip and healthy tooth area.
First, the dentist will etch the remaining tooth enamel to help the bonding adhere. Then they will apply the resin material and smooth and shape it to create a new and natural-looking tooth surface.
Finally, the dentist shines a blue light onto the repair to harden it. With good care, bonding can last around 10 years.
Veneers are a popular chipped teeth repair solution for more extensive damage. Repairing a chipped tooth with a veneer involves covering the tooth’s front surface with a wafer-thin porcelain shell, resulting in a tooth that looks identical to or better than the original tooth. A dentist can cover one or more teeth with veneers for those looking to upgrade the overall appearance of their smile while repairing their damaged tooth.
Dental crowns are often used for chipped tooth repair when the chip or fracture has caused extensive loss to the tooth’s structure. Unlike veneers, a dental crown covers the whole of the visible tooth and can strengthen, protect, and enhance the tooth’s appearance. Dental crowns usually involve two dental visits unless your dentist has CEREC technology, where the treatment requires only one appointment.
Dental fillings are a standard method of repairing a broken tooth or cavity, especially if the damage is out of view at the back of the mouth. Tooth-coloured resin fillings blend in seamlessly with the remainder of the teeth, although an amalgam filling may be a better option for a back molar.
Root canals often fall under the umbrella of a dental emergency as they can cause considerable pain if an infection is present. Your dentist may recommend a root canal if the top of the tooth has broken away but the root remains intact. The process involves placing a post in the canal to build up the tooth’s structure so a temporary crown can be placed over it. The dentist will place a permanent crown later to restore your smile.
What to do for a chipped tooth while you wait to see a dentist?
If your tooth chip has left a jagged edge, you can cover it with sugar-free chewing gum or dental wax to protect your tongue and gums from scrapes or cuts. Over-the-counter painkillers like Ibuprofen will help ease pain and inflammation, and you can place an ice pack on the outside of the face to reduce swelling.
Do you have a chipped or broken tooth?
Why not make an appointment with our dentists at Parramatta Green Dental. We’re experienced in chipped teeth repair and can ease your pain and restore your smile and confidence.
Science Direct: Dental Pulp
PubMed Central: Dental Emergencies
Colgate: What is CEREC in dentistry