If you or a loved one has ever chipped a tooth, you know how traumatic it can be. A chipped tooth is highly noticeable both from the outside and from within your mouth. A chipped tooth usually has very sharp, jagged edges that are painful when you rub your tongue over it. Moreover, chipped teeth typically occur in the front of the mouth, where you smile. Worse, chipped teeth often happen to permanent teeth, so you know that you won’t be growing a new tooth to replace the chipped tooth. So what happens if you chip your tooth?
What Kind of Chip or Crack Is It?
There are several different ways that a tooth can be chipped. The treatment will depend on what condition your chipped tooth is in.
1. You may have a cracked tooth and not realize it. Your tooth can develop a craze line, which is essentially a crack in the outer enamel layer of your tooth. Craze lines often don’t cause any discomfort.
2. You could have a fractured tooth. This is when a portion of the surface of your tooth breaks off. Fractured teeth also might not cause internal pain, but there may be a detectable jagged edge that you can feel with your tongue. If a piece of your front teeth breaks off, this is a fractured tooth.
3. You might have a crack in your tooth that starts at the surface where you chew and extends down toward the root. Cracks like this may or may not be painful, but they might cause tooth sensitivity.
4. If your tooth crack has not been treated early enough, it may split, causing a split tooth that may extend all the way to the gum line. In this instance, only half of the tooth is likely to be able to be saved.
5. A vertical tooth fracture is another kind of cracked tooth, but it starts at the root and works its way up toward the surface. This kind of cracked tooth might go undetected for a long time since it usually does not cause pain.
What Treatments Are Available for Chipped or Cracked Teeth?
Depending on the condition of your cracked tooth and what kind of crack or chip it is, the dentist will use one of the many treatment options available.
- Dental bonding is often used on front teeth that have been fractured. This involves the application of a resin filler that essentially restores the look of your teeth back to normal. It’s a painless procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia.
- Veneers may be applied to your damaged tooth to hide the crack or chip. Veneers can last decades, and the look of your teeth is markedly enhanced.
- A crown can be used to cover and protect the damaged tooth. The crown essentially acts like a protectant that prevents further damage to the tooth.
- Sometimes a root canal is necessary to remove decayed areas of your damaged tooth in order to save the healthy part of the tooth.
- Dental implants are commonly used when the original damaged tooth cannot be saved.
The main thing to remember is that if you chip or crack your tooth, seek dental treatment right away. The earlier you see your dentist, the better off you’ll be. To make an appointment now, contact us.