There’s no doubt that chipping a tooth is an uncomfortable and alarming experience. Whether you fell, sustained impact to the face, or bit down on a piece of chicken bone, chipping a tooth often comes as a surprise.
First things first: don’t panic. Although you might have pain in your mouth, a chipped tooth often requires a simple procedure to fix, and your dentist will have you looking good as new before you know it.
Here are our top tips on how to care for a chipped tooth and what to expect when you visit the dentist’s office.
At-Home Treatments for Chipped Teeth
The first thing you should do when you chip a tooth is make an appointment with your dentist. But even if you score a next-day appointment you still need to take care of your tooth in the meantime. Home-care is centered around reducing pain and preventing more damage from occurring.
Use Over-the-Counter Painkillers
Start by taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen to mitigate acute pain and swelling. These over-the-counter painkillers offer some relief until you’re able to visit the dentist.
Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water to remove any surface bacteria from the chipped tooth and ease any bleeding or swelling. Make sure to swish the salt water gently, and refrain from using water that’s too cold or too hot, as this will irritate the chipped area.
Cover the Edge
If you chipped tooth has a jagged edge that’s bound to cut your tongue or cheek, consider smoothing the edge with a bit of dental wax, available in most drugstore dental repair kits. If you’re in a pinch and no wax is available, you can use a bit of sugar-free chewing gum to pad the edge of your tooth.
Watch What You Eat
It’s best to avoid chewy, sticky, or hard foods like raw vegetables, candy, caramel, and tough meats if you have a chipped tooth. Stick with soft foods like mashed potatoes, smoothies, and yogurt until you can get your tooth repaired.
The most common treatment for a chipped or broken tooth is a simple dental filling or bonding. According to WebMD, if the chip is small, a dentist might just repair the damage by using a small amount of filling. If the chip is larger, or in a more noticeable part of the mouth, your dentist might use a procedure called bonding to fix the imperfection.
Bonding entails using a tooth-colored resin that adheres to the roughened edge of the broken tooth. The resin hardens with the help of an ultra-violet light, and mimics the look and feel of a natural tooth.
In more extreme cases your dentist might be compelled to use a dental crown to fix the problem. This typically occurs when the tooth is too heavily damaged to make a bonding procedure realistic.
To insert the dental crown, your dentist will remove any damaged part of the tooth to create room for the crown to fit onto the tooth. Crowns help hold the tooth in place for added stability.
In some circumstances, your dentist might be compelled to perform a root canal on the damaged tooth. Essentially, this procedure removes part of the tooth’s root, preventing future discomfort, complications and infection. Usually, your dentist will perform x-rays to determine whether or not your root is damaged enough to warrant a root-canal procedure. Although root canals might sound like a big deal, most only require some general numbing to the affected area, and are easy to perform with the proper skills and knowledge. Once completed, your dentist will likely fit a crown over the tooth to protect the damaged area and stabilize the injury.
In the most extreme cases, you may need to have your tooth extracted. But don’t worry! Having a tooth pulled for the benefit of your overall health and wellbeing is not a big deal. Once extracted, your dentist will be able to fit you with a suitable tooth replacement like a dental bridge or dental implant.
Stay On Top of Your Dental Health at Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry
If you’re struggling with a chipped tooth, we encourage you to contact our team at Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry to start your consultation process today. We specialize in providing our clients with a relaxed and stress-free environment, so you can take care of your smile without worry. If you have a chipped tooth or other cosmetic dental concerns, contact us to set up your first appointment and experience the Treasured Smiles difference.