Although tooth enamel is one of the hardest, most durable tissues in the body, it can still be compromised and broken. Whether you accidentally chip a tooth on the edge of a water glass, bite down on a piece of ice and feel a bit of tooth break away, chip a tooth while grinding your teeth at night, or have an accident that results in a broken tooth, you’ll need to see a dentist right away to have your tooth treated and repaired.
What to Do If You Chip or Break a Tooth
If you chip or break a tooth, schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. Having a chipped or broken tooth can expose the inner pulp of your tooth and nerves, leaving you exposed to infection risk, more serious health problems, and more invasive treatment. So, it’s important to see a dental professional right away.
Additionally, having a chipped or broken tooth can leave a sharp edge in your mouth that can damage your soft tissues. If this is the case with your tooth, you can dull the edge by applying a bit of paraffin wax or sugar-free chewing gum to the sharp edge of the tooth.
If you experience any pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Avoid taking aspirin to relieve pain because it can reduce your blood’s ability to clot, causing problems if you have any bleeding. Be sure to confirm that these over-the-counter medications are safe to take with any prescription drugs you are also currently taking. If you experience any swelling, you can also apply ice or a cold pack to the affected area.
Until you’re able to see the dentist, eat only soft foods and avoid biting down on your chipped or broken tooth. Rinse your mouth with salt water after meals and in the morning and night.
Treatments and Repairs for Chipped or Broken Teeth
There are a variety of dental treatments that can be used to repair chipped and broken teeth. The treatment that’s right for you will depend on the severity of your tooth’s damage. Our dentist will talk with you about the treatment that’s best for preserving your natural tooth.
Dental Fillings and Bonding
If your tooth has suffered a minor chip, it can be repaired with a dental filling, like a dentist uses to fill a cavity, or with dental bonding. Dental bonding is almost always used when the chipped tooth is visible because it uses a tooth-colored composite resin that appears natural for a seamless tooth repair.
When a visible tooth has a significant chip, our dentist will seal the tooth with a filling or dental bonding and also offer the patient the option of adding a dental veneer.
A dental veneer consisting of composite resin or porcelain is permanently bonded to the front of a tooth. Veneers cover up any damage or imperfections and restore or even improve the natural look of a patient’s teeth.
If a significant portion of a tooth breaks off or the damage compromises the tooth’s original structure, a dental crown is usually the best treatment option. A crown is a natural-looking, tooth-shaped cap designed to fit over a patient’s tooth, repair its damage, and strengthen the tooth’s natural structure.
If a tooth’s break has exposed the tooth’s central pulp (which contains nerves and blood vessels) or if a significant infection is present but the original tooth is still salvageable, a root canal might be necessary.
During a root canal, the dentist will clean the interior of the tooth, removing all signs of infection and the tooth’s original pulp. The tooth is then filled and capped with a crown.
Tooth Extraction and Replacement
If a tooth’s original structure has been compromised beyond repair due to extensive damage or infection, the best course of treatment might be to extract the natural tooth and replace it with a dental implant or bridge.
A dental implant consists of a metal screw that acts as the replacement tooth’s “root” and a cap or crown. Dental implants are the most natural-looking and feeling permanent tooth replacement option. They also help to maintain the health of the patient’s underlying jawbone.
A fixed dental bridge is another permanent treatment option for replacing a tooth. It consists of a replacement tooth attached to two caps that are affixed to the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. A bridge is also a great option for tooth replacement. However, it does not offer the same stimulation to the underlying jawbone as a dental implant.
Full Smile Restoration in Cincinnati at Eastgate Dental Excellence
At Eastgate Dental Excellence, our dentist and dental team are proud to provide a comprehensive list of cosmetic and general dentistry services designed to help our patients achieve their best and brightest smiles. Whether you’ve chipped or broken a tooth or are simply interested in improving the form and function of your smile, we invite you to schedule a smile restoration consultation with a dentist at Eastgate Dental Excellence in Cincinnati. We’ll talk with you about your dental history and smile goals, and we’ll recommend the best course of treatment to make your smile dreams come true.