If you have experienced a broken tooth, it’s not something to be taken lightly. It might seem like it’s just a cosmetic issue, but in fact, it could require significant repair that should not be ignored. If you don’t seek dental attention for it right away, you could increase the risk of permanent damage, which may require more extensive treatment down the road.

What should you do if you chip or break your tooth?

If possible, save any pieces that you can from the tooth and immediately rinse your mouth and any pieces that you find. If there is bleeding, apply pressure to the area with gauze for about 10 minutes, or until the bleeding slows down. If you notice that the area is beginning to hurt or swell, apply ice or a cold compress. Then, call your dentist right away.

How are small chips treated?

Fixing a chipped tooth depends on how much of the tooth has broken off. Usually, a chipped tooth isn’t an emergency and can be corrected with dental bonding. This means that your dentist will apply a strong, tooth-colored material to it to restore the tooth’s shape.

However, it’s possible that the dental bonding will wear away over time and needs to be replaced. So, sometimes dentists will opt to repair the chip with porcelain veneer, which will covers the whole tooth rather than just the chipped space.

How are larger chips repaired?

Teeth that have significant chip damage will usually require more work. If the tooth has not been exposed to the nerve tissue, the dentist may put a cap or veneer on it. This will require the doctor to shape the remaining tooth structure, then it will be sent to a dental laboratory to create the new veneer/cap. Once it’s ready, the doctor will apply the new permanent restoration to your tooth.

If your tooth has nerve damage, you will likely experience a lot of pain. This will often require not just a crown or cap, but a root canal as well. If you have a crack in your tooth that goes underneath the gum line and into the root of the tooth, it may need to be extracted and replaced.

Your smile is one of the first impressions you’ll make when you meet people, so take care of your teeth to the best of your ability. If you experience any dental injury or have noticed that you have a crack forming at one of the chewing surfaces of your teeth, contact your dentist right away for an evaluation.

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