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What Can You Do For a Chipped Tooth?

Smiling man with strong, white teeth.

Discovering a chipped tooth can be both surprising and unsettling. Whether it's the result of biting into something hard, an accidental injury, or simply wear and tear, the integrity of your smile and oral health is suddenly compromised – and that can be scary.

But you shouldn't worry! There are actually several straightforward solutions to restore your tooth and protect your oral health.

Why Teeth Chip

Teeth are remarkably strong, but they are not indestructible. Chipping can occur for several reasons: trauma from sports or accidents, biting down on hard objects, or the gradual weakening of teeth due to cavities, extensive dental work, or enamel wear over time. Even temperature extremes from eating hot food followed by cold drinks can cause micro-fractures that lead to chipping.

The Importance of Fast Treatment

It might be tempting to ignore a chipped tooth, especially if it's not causing pain. However, even a small chip can expose your tooth to the risk of further damage or infection. The inner layers of your tooth could become exposed to bacteria, leading to decay or even painful abscesses.

Treatment Options for a Chipped Tooth

Depending on the severity and location of the chip, there are several treatment options your dentist might recommend.

Dental Bonding

For minor chips, dental bonding is a simple and effective solution. The dental bonding procedure involves applying a tooth-colored composite resin to the damaged area. The resin is then shaped to match the contours of your tooth and hardened with a special light.

The entire process can often be finished in a single visit, making it a convenient and attractive option for busy patients. While dental bonding is durable, it may eventually need to be replaced after several years of wear.

Inlays and Onlays

For chips that are too large for bonding but not extensive enough to require a full crown, inlays or onlays may be the perfect fit. These are custom-made inserts prepared in a dental lab that fit into (inlays) or onto (onlays) the damaged area of your tooth. Inlays and onlays are custom made from porcelain or composite resin. They are then strongly bonded to the tooth, providing a durable and aesthetically pleasing repair.

This option can be especially beneficial for chips on the chewing surfaces of your teeth, where the restoration needs to withstand significant force.

Dental Crowns

When a chip results in significant loss of a tooth’s structure, a dental crown may be necessary. Crowns cover the entire damaged tooth, restoring its shape, size, and function. The process involves preparing the tooth, taking an impression for the crown, and fitting a temporary crown until the permanent one is ready.

Crowns offer a long-term solution for significantly damaged teeth, protecting them from further decay and restoring full functionality.

Dental Implants

In situations of extensive damage to the tooth, or when other treatments are not viable, a dental implant may be the best option. Implants involve removing the damaged tooth and replacing it with an implant—a metal post that acts as a tooth root—topped with a custom-made crown.

While this is the most invasive and costly option, it also provides a permanent solution that almost exactly mimics a natural tooth in the way it looks, feels, and functions, in the event your tooth cannot be saved.

Do You Have a Chipped or Cracked Tooth?

A chipped tooth is more than a simple cosmetic issue; it's a dental health concern that requires immediate attention.

If you've experienced a chipped tooth, don't wait any longer. Contact us today to explore your options and choose the right treatment for you.

 

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