How to Deal with a Chipped Tooth

Posted on: August 2, 2018

The fun and games always stop when someone gets a chipped tooth. However, it is also one of those things that are bound to happen to everyone at some point in time.

Chipped teeth are a common issue dentists deal with, and it does not take much to chip off a small portion of a tooth. It is only a matter of making contact with something hard at the right angle and a dose of bad luck.

Common causes of a chipped tooth

Here are some of the more common reasons people end up with chipped teeth:

  • Trauma to the mouth during a fall
  • Tooth enamel that has been weakened by decay
  • Chewing on hard things like hard candies, ice or fingernails
  • Trauma from an accident or sports injury
  • Poor nutrition
  • Bad habits like clenching or grinding teeth

While most people would rather avoid chipping a tooth, the reality is that it is a rather simple issue to address. There are a variety of dental treatments that can be used to restore the appearance of the patient's smile.

Chipped teeth are not considered to be medical emergencies, but that is not an excuse for patients to ignore them. Besides, a chipped tooth can morph into a more serious dental issue if it is not restored in time. If the chip is deep enough to leave a nerve exposed, that can lead to excruciating pain and it would be best to seek emergency dental care.

Leaving a chipped tooth unaddressed often results in additional damage being done to the tooth, tooth sensitivity and pain. In addition, a tooth becomes more vulnerable to the irritants in a person's smile, like bacteria and acids, making them it more vulnerable to infection and decay.

When left untreated, a chipped tooth often results in:

  • A flawed smile
  • Damaged enamel
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Toothaches
  • Abscess
  • Infection
  • The loss of the tooth

The size of the portion of teeth material that comes off during a chip often determines the best course of treatment.

1. Minor chips

A small chip can be fixed by a dentist polishing and smoothing it out. This help makes the chip virtually unnoticeable. Composite bonding can also be used to address small chips. Veneers can be used too, but given the high price tags, it only makes sense to explore the cheaper alternatives first. While small chips are typically cheap and easy to restore, it can lead to serious dental issues when neglected.

2. Medium chips

A chip is considered to be medium sized if it reaches the inner layer of the tooth's enamel. It can easily become infected if the pulp is exposed. Crowns and veneers are the go-to options when restoring medium chips. Composite resins can also be used in some cases.

3. Large chips

A chip is considered to be large if it reaches the dentin. These are the most noticeable types of chipped teeth and require urgent treatment. Crowns, veneers and implants are the go-to solutions for these.

Contact one of our dentists to learn more about chipped teeth.

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