What to Do If You Chipped a Tooth
Chipped teeth can happen during a game of football, a run around the block or even as you walk up the stairs. Chips often cause pain, and you may wonder how you can feel better until the dentist can see you or if you can prevent a chipped tooth from occurring again. Learn more about what happens when you chip a tooth by reading our primer and following our suggestions.
What to Do If You Chipped Your Tooth
If you have chipped your tooth, call your dentist to set up an appointment before you do anything else. Next, you may want to protect the sharp edge of the tooth so it does not irritate your gum. You can put a bit of wax or even chewing gum over the sharp section.
If you eat before seeing a dentist, stick to soft foods and chew your food on the opposite side of the mouth as the chipped tooth. Your tooth may feel sensitive, so avoid very hot and cold beverages.
When you chip a tooth, you may feel pain if the chip occurred near the nerve. Chewing can also put pressure on the tooth. Use home remedies to ease your pain until your dentist visit by:
- Gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water
- Taking an anti-inflammatory, like ibuprofen, to reduce swelling and pain
- Putting a cold compress on the chipped tooth
What Does a Dentist Do for Chipped Teeth?
When you get to the office, you will discover what a dentist can do for a chipped front tooth. The best course of action will depend on how badly the tooth has been damaged.
If the chip occurred on a back tooth, the dentist may be able to fix it with a filling, which should only take one visit to the office. If you chipped one of your front teeth, the repair process will be more involved.
Your dentist may need to employ bonding to fix a chipped front tooth. First, they will prepare your tooth surface to bond to the new material, which is usually resin. They will apply an adhesive to your chipped tooth, then put the resin on top to cover the chip.
A more serious chip may require the dentist to apply a dental crown, which is affixed over top of the broken tooth. It will take two visits to complete this procedure. When you visit our office, you can choose what type of crown you would like, such as ceramic or porcelain fused to metal. You may also require a root canal if the chip has reached the root of the tooth.
Preventing Chipped Teeth
You can take a few preventative steps to guard against chipped teeth in the future:
- Wear a mouthguard when you participate in contact sports
- Avoid chewing hard things, such as ice cubes or bones in bone-in meat
- Slice corn kernels off corn on the cob before eating
- Exercise caution when walking up and down the stairs