Chipped Tooth, What are My Options?
Tooth enamel may be the hardest substance in the body, but your teeth can still be fractured. A chipped tooth is actually quite a common occurrence that can happen due to many different reasons. However, with proper dental care, a chipped tooth can often be avoided. If you are wondering what you should do after you chip a tooth, the following information shares the most possible causes plus effective prevention and treatment options.
I Chipped My Tooth, What Do I Do?
First things first, contact your dentist immediately. Some dentists may be able to squeeze you into their schedule the same day. If they can’t get you in right away, make sure you schedule an appointment as soon as possible. It is very important to see your dentist in a timely manner because neglecting a broken tooth can lead to future damage or decay.
When you first chip or break a tooth, take an over the counter pain reliever and rinse your mouth out with saltwater. Then, cover the jagged edge with a piece of wax paper. Make sure you avoid eating and biting down on the broken tooth. If you must eat, choose soft foods.
I Knocked My Tooth Completely Out, What Do I Do?
If you get your tooth knocked out completely, you need to react quickly and try to get to a dentist within 30 minutes of the tooth falling out. Make sure you look around and find the tooth quickly, and try to pick it up by the root. If the tooth has dirt on it, rinse it very gently while avoiding scrubbing it. Do NOT dry it.
Instead, try to place the tooth back in the socket and close your mouth gently to hold it in place, or keep the tooth moist by placing the tooth in milk to preserve it. You can also place the tooth inside your cheek if need be. Acting swiftly and carefully after getting a tooth knocked out can help increase the chances of saving the tooth.
The treatment for a broken or chipped tooth will depend on the severity. If you are only missing a small piece, the repair can usually be done in a simple office visit. If you experience a more severely damaged or broken tooth, you may go through a more lengthy (and costly) procedure. Here are a few ways your tooth may be repaired:
- If you chip your tooth and can find the missing piece, the dentist may be able to glue it back on.
- Can’t find the missing fragment? Your dentist can use a tooth-colored filling material to build the tooth back up.
- Chipped a tooth that is further back in your mouth, you may need to get a crown or filling.
- If the tooth is badly damaged to the point of nerve damage, you may need a root canal.
- For a minor chip, the dentist may just smooth it down.
- If you get your tooth knocked out, your dentist will use a dental splint for two weeks to help keep it in place.
- Place the tooth back into the socket yourself, your dentist will take X-rays to make sure it is inserted correctly.
- If you preserve the knocked-out tooth in milk, the dentist will place the tooth back in before splinting it.
- Unfortunately, if you can’t find the tooth after it’s been knocked out, you will need to talk to your dentist about your options, like dentures, bridges, or implants.
When it comes to preventing a tooth chip or breakage, there are a few things you can do to lessen the odds.
- If you are an athlete, we highly recommend wearing a mouthguard. Especially if your sport involves a lot of physical contacts, like football or rugby.
- Avoid chewing on hard candy or ice.
- Do NOT use your teeth as a tool to open bottles or packages.
- Maintain proper oral hygiene to make sure your teeth aren’t weak.
- If you grind your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about getting fitted for a nightguard.
At your next dental appointment at Westdale Dental, be sure to ask your dentist about other ways you can prevent chipping your teeth, or fixing the one you have already chipped