Even though your tooth enamel is some of the hardest material in your body, it’s not immune to breaking or chipping under certain circumstances, especially if a tooth is already experiencing some decay. The good news is that there are several ways to mend a chipped or broke tooth if you see your dentist soon after an incident occurs.
If you fall to the ground or get hit in the mouth, make sure you contact your dentist straight away if you see that a tooth is broken, chipped, or fractured regardless of whether you’re experiencing pain. Doing so will help you prevent the tooth from becoming infected, or worse, needing to have it extracted entirely.
While you are waiting to get in to see your dentist, you can take the following self-care measures:
The treatment for a chipped or broken tooth is largely dependent on the extent of the damage. For example, if only a small piece or corner of the enamel has been fractured, it can generally be repaired with a filling or bond which is usually completed after only one office visit. However, teeth that have sustained severe damage may require more lengthy and costly procedures such as a cap or crown.
Depending on where in your mouth the affected tooth lies, your dentist will likely recommend a filling or bonding to repair a small loss of tooth enamel.
To bond the fracture or chip, the dental team applies an adhesive material to the tooth, followed by the bonding material. He or she will then fix the bonding to resemble the tooth’s natural shape and color, and make it permanent by hardening with ultraviolet light.
Should a larger piece of tooth break off, either from being weakened by decay or due to heavy trauma, you may be required to cap the tooth altogether with a dental crown. To fit the new cap or crown into your mouth, the dentist will need to grind or file down the remaining part of the tooth and cover it to protect the nerve. These caps and crowns can be made of metal, porcelain fused to metal, all resin, or all ceramic. Many dental crowns can also be made to look almost identical to the original tooth.