What to do if You Chip a Tooth
Chipping or cracking a tooth can be a frustrating, painful, and even embarrassing experience—depending on the location and severity of the damage—but our team at Prescott Dentistry wants to put your mind at ease. We know that a beautiful smile gives you confidence. Our skilled dentists can restore your smile and your confidence in just a few visits or less.
What to Do if You Crack or Chip a Tooth
Most likely you will need to see a dentist, unless it is a minor chip. The best thing you can do in the meantime is to alleviate any pain and protect your tooth and the inside of your mouth to avoid any further injury.
Surface lines and tiny cracks may not require treatment, but it’s always best to be seen by a dentist so that the exact extent of the damage can be assessed. Even if it seems minor, there may be damage to the tooth you cannot see or feel.
If your tooth cracks, swish with warm water right away—this will clean it out so it doesn’t become infected. Apply a cold compress for pain and swelling. Then be sure to call us as soon as possible.
Chipped Tooth Repair
Treatment will depend on how big the chip or crack is and where it is located. Possible treatments include:
1. Cosmetic Contouring
For slight damage, contouring, or enameloplasty, may be all you need. It is a fairly simple procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia. Your dentist will use tools to gently remove some of your teeth’s enamel to change the shape or length. Once your teeth have been evenly contoured, they will be polished to make them look as natural as possible.
Bonding is also a simple procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia and can be done in a single visit. Your dentist will first rough up, or abrade, the surface of the tooth. Next, a conditioning liquid will be applied to the tooth, followed by tooth-colored composite resin. Afterward the tooth will be formed into the correct shape. The dentist can also sometimes reattach the broken piece of tooth if it has been saved.
3. Root Canal and Crown
While we try to avoid root canals when possible, sometimes a crack or chip that goes below the surface of the tooth may require more extensive repair procedures. If the crack has extended down into the pulp, you may need a root canal. During a root canal, your dentist will remove pulp, clean the inside of the tooth, and fill and seal it with a material called gutta-percha. Afterward, the tooth will be capped with a filling or a crown.
4. Tooth Extraction and Implant
Sometimes, a root canal won’t save a tooth and it will need to be extracted. During a simple extraction, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and gum tissue. The tooth will be loosened with an instrument called an elevator, and finally removed with forceps.
During a surgical extraction, your dentist will make a small incision in your gum and remove the underlying tooth. This procedure is used when there is more extensive tooth damage. Occasionally some of the bone around the tooth will need to be removed or the tooth may need to be cut in half to extract it.
After a tooth has been extracted, we place the implant into its place and allow it to heal. This implant eventually fuses to the jawbone and provides a solid foundation that a crown, bridge, or even dentures can be attached to.
Holistic Dentist in Prescott
Our holistic dentists at Prescott Dentistry restore teeth by emulating the perfect, undamaged tooth that nature gave us. This approach is known as biomimetic dentistry. Using advanced bonding techniques and biocompatible materials, we are able to re-create the biomechanics of this ideal. Our doctors are the only fully trained biomimetic dentists in Arizona. Come see us for a consultation to see how our alternative approach to cracked or chipped tooth repair can benefit you and your family.
Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash