April 24, 2023

What to Do With a Chipped Tooth: Essential Steps and Tips

Dealing with a chipped tooth? Don't worry!

At our dental practice in Newburyport, MA, we're here to guide you through the process. In this comprehensive article, we'll discuss the steps you should take if you chip a tooth and the treatment options available to restore your smile. Keep reading to learn more!

What to Do With a Chipped Tooth

A chipped tooth can happen to anyone, whether it's from a sports injury, a fall, or biting down on something hard. No matter the cause, it's essential to know what to do with a chipped tooth to prevent further damage and maintain your oral health. Let's explore the initial steps you should take and the treatment options available at our Newburyport dental practice.

First Steps After Chipping a Tooth

If you've chipped a tooth, here are some immediate steps you should take:

Assess the Damage

Examine the tooth and determine the extent of the damage. If the chip is small and there's no pain, you may be able to wait for a dental appointment. However, if the damage is extensive or you're experiencing pain or sensitivity, it's essential to see your dentist as soon as possible.

Rinse Your Mouth

Gently rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any debris and keep the area clean. Avoid using mouthwash or other harsh solutions, as they may cause discomfort if the tooth is sensitive.

Apply Pressure and Ice

If there's bleeding, gently apply pressure with a clean gauze or cloth to help stop it. To reduce swelling and alleviate pain, use an ice pack wrapped in a towel and hold it against your cheek near the chipped tooth.

Protect the Tooth

Before you can see your dentist, it's important to protect the chipped tooth from further damage. Avoid chewing with the damaged tooth, and be cautious with hot or cold foods and beverages, as they may cause sensitivity.

Treatment Options for a Chipped Tooth

At our Newburyport dental practice, we offer several treatment options to restore a chipped tooth, depending on the severity of the damage:

Dental Bonding

For minor chips, dental bonding is a quick and cost-effective solution. Your dentist will apply a tooth-colored resin material to the affected area, shaping and polishing it to match the rest of your tooth. This procedure is typically completed in one visit, with minimal tooth preparation required.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin, custom-made shells that cover the front surface of a chipped tooth, providing a natural-looking and long-lasting solution. Veneers are an excellent option for moderate chips that don't compromise the tooth's structural integrity. The process usually involves two visits: one to prepare the tooth and take an impression, and another to bond the veneer in place.

Dental Crowns

For more severe chips that have caused significant damage to the tooth structure, a dental crown may be necessary. Crowns are custom-made caps that cover the entire tooth, providing strength and protection. The process typically requires two visits, during which the dentist will prepare the tooth, take an impression, and place a temporary crown. At the second visit, the permanent crown is cemented in place.

Root Canal Therapy

If the chipped tooth has exposed the tooth's pulp, causing pain or sensitivity, root canal therapy may be needed. During this procedure, the dentist will remove the damaged pulp, clean the tooth's interior, and seal it to prevent infection. After the root canal, a dental crown is usually placed to restore the tooth's strength and appearance.

Dental Implants

In cases where the chipped tooth cannot be saved, extraction followed by dental implant placement may be the best option. Dental implants are titanium posts that are surgically inserted into the jawbone to replace the tooth's root. Once the implant has fused with the bone, a custom-made crown is attached, restoring the tooth's function and appearance.

Preventing Chipped Teeth

Prevention is key to maintaining a healthy smile. Here are some tips to help prevent chipped teeth:

  • Avoid biting down on hard foods or objects like ice, popcorn kernels, and hard candies.
  • Wear a mouthguard when playing sports or engaging in activities that could cause facial injuries.
  • Address teeth grinding (bruxism) with your dentist, as it can weaken your teeth and make them more susceptible to chipping.
  • Practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings to keep your teeth strong and healthy.

Knowing what to do with a chipped tooth is essential for preventing further damage and maintaining your oral health. Follow the immediate steps discussed, and consult your dentist to determine the best treatment option for your specific situation.

At our Newburyport dental practice, we're here to help restore your chipped tooth and keep your smile looking its best. Don't hesitate to contact us or visit our website page to schedule your appointment today.

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