Nov 1, 2010
There are many ways to get a chipped tooth. Whether it is from trauma or biting into a popcorn kernel, teeth unfortunately are not indestructible. The best thing to do once you have chipped your tooth is call the dentist to make an appointment and have it checked. Depending on the severity of the chip, the dentist has a few different options for fixing it.
The first thing your dentist will want (besides the situation and how the chip happened) is an x-ray. It is important to see how much damage has been done to the tooth inside and out. If it is a chip that is hardly noticeable and the damage is very minimal, the dentist may just be able to smooth it out and send you on your way. If it is a small chip, it still could require a composite (tooth colored filling) porcelain veneer or a crown. If it is a large chip or the root is damaged, it will require more work. Depending on the location of the chip whether it is located on an anterior (front) tooth or a molar will also make a difference in the treatment also.
Given the chip is on a front tooth the dentist will most likely recommend a porcelain veneer. He will need to prepare the tooth and take an impression which is sent to a lab that makes the veneer. The dentist will make you a temporary that you will wear until you can get back in to have the permanent one put on. If it is a back tooth they can put in a composite filling which can be done in the same appointment. Of you are having pain when chewing or drinking and the chip is more of a crack, if a root canal is not needed, they will prepare the tooth for a crown. A crown is a cap that covers the tooth and both protects and improves its appearance. All of these restorations are made to match your existing teeth. Worst case scenario, in the event the root is damaged, the tooth may need to be extracted and replaced. If you have an existing filling, crown or veneer that becomes chipped, you need to have it fixed and or replaced as soon as possible as to not compromise the tooth.
If you chip or crack your tooth and have the piece that came out, bring it to the dentist with you. If you do not procrastinate and see a dentist right away the repair is usually straightforward. Waiting can only increase the possibility of further deterioration caused by unseen damage.
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