No matter how well you care for your smile, you can’t anticipate a dental injury like a chipped tooth. While it’s not necessarily an emergency, chipping a tooth can be painful, frustrating, and embarrassing, as well as inconvenient.
Castle Dental offers same-day and emergency dental appointments at many of its locations to help you treat your chipped tooth quickly. If you think you or your child has chipped or damaged a tooth, call the Castle Dental location nearest you to find out what your options are.
Is my tooth chipped, cracked, or broken?
- Cracked tooth. If the enamel of your teeth is weak, it may be vulnerable to cracking. Though a cracked tooth may be difficult to detect, it is important to seek treatment if you notice any symptoms such as sensitivity to hot or cold drinks and/or food or pain in your tooth. An untreated crack can lead to tooth decay, infection, and even nerve damage.
- Minor chip. Minor chips can be caused by chewing hard objects, trauma, or teeth grinding. They don’t always need to be treated as they haven’t reached any nerves. Small chips may be left untreated or can be repaired strictly for aesthetic purposes.
- Severe chip. Usually caused by trauma to the mouth, a severe chip can be painful if the nerves of the teeth have become exposed. While the goal will always be to save the existing tooth, a severe break can result in more complicated dental procedures or extractions, depending on the severity of the injury
- Decay. Decay occurs when the enamel of the tooth is weakened. With the surface of the tooth compromised, the likelihood of chips and cracks increases, as does the chance for damage to worsen more quickly.
Can I prevent a chipped tooth?
Teeth can chip for a whole host of reasons and in myriad types of situations–many of them unexpected–so it’s difficult to know with certainty what you can do to prevent damage entirely.
However, there are a few precautions you can take to protect your teeth.
- Wear a mouthguard during outdoors, sporting, or other high-contact events.
- Attend your bi-annual cleanings and exams, so the dentist can identify any minor damage early on.
- Use toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride to keep your teeth healthy and your enamel strong.
- Don’t use your teeth to bite, break, or tear non-food items.
- Carefully eat very hard or crunchy foods like hard candy and ice, or avoid them completely.
What do I do if I chip a tooth?
If you chip your tooth–even if it’s a suspicion-call your dentist immediately. Depending on the severity of the chip or nature of the injury, they may want to see you right away. Many dentists–including several Castle Dental locations–offer emergency hours, so you can be seen quickly, even on weekends or evenings.
Otherwise, they’ll schedule you for the soonest available appointment. It’s important to let your dentist assess the damage, despite how minor you believe your injury may be. Untreated breaks or cracks can lead to infection and decay, which may require more invasive and expensive treatment.
In most cases, the dentist will do everything he or she can to save the natural tooth. Only if the damage has rendered the natural tooth unsavable will the tooth be extracted and replaced with a crown or implant.
How should you care for a chipped tooth before a dentist appointment?
While you’re waiting to see the dentist, there are some measures you can take to help minimize pain and discomfort, reduce swelling or further damage, and improve your chances of saving the tooth.
- Save any large pieces of the tooth in a glass of milk or Sav-A-Tooth solution.
- If the tooth edge is sharp, cover the edge with dental wax or sugar-free gum.
- Avoid hot or cold foods.
- Use an over-the-counter pain reliever.
- Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky textured foods.
- For more serious injuries, rinse with warm salt water to prevent infection and reduce swelling.
What are the treatment options for a chipped tooth?
The right treatment for a chipped tooth depends on variables like the location, severity, and type of chip or damage.
- Fillings will be used for small cracks and chips. Your dentist will use a resin to fill in any spots that may have broken away.
- Cosmetic veneers are a good option for chips or breaks that haven’t resulted in nerve damage. Made of a very thin sheet of porcelain or resin composite, the veneer is placed directly over the top of the existing tooth, hiding any chips or breaks and blending in seamlessly with the adjacent natural teeth.
- Smoothing the tooth out is best for microscopic cracks in the teeth that can be detected during routine dental appointments. Using specialized tools, your dentist will smooth away or gently grind down ridges or cracks that could become a place for bacteria to accumulate, evening out the tooth’s surface and making it easier to keep clean.
- Dental crowns may be used for more severe chips. A crown may be necessary if there isn’t enough surface area for a resin filling to adhere to, or if the chip has left the tooth misshapen and uneven. As long as the tooth is salvageable, a crown can restore the integrity, function, and aesthetic of a severely chipped tooth.
- Extraction and implants may be necessary if the tooth cannot be saved as a result of severe nerve damage or if the chip extends to the root of the tooth. While it’s usually a last resort, extraction and implants can help preserve the health and aesthetics of your smile should you end up with missing teeth.
What does chipped tooth repair cost?
The cost to repair a chipped or broken tooth will vary by patient, depending on things like the nature and severity of the injury as well as the type of treatment required and what your dental insurance plan will cover.
At Castle Dental, we believe the cost of treatment should never keep you from repairing a chipped tooth. In addition to a long list of accepted insurance plans, Castle Dental also accepts CareCredit, and we offer a variety of flexible payment plans and financing options to help you afford the care you need. We also offer the OneSmile Dental Plan, which provides members with discounts on dental services for a low annual fee.
Care for Your Chipped Tooth at Castle Dental
At Castle Dental, we know accidents like chipping a tooth can happen at the most inconvenient times. That’s why you’ll find extended or weekend hours and emergency dental services at many of our convenient locations as well as a friendly, helpful staff of compassionate professionals.
Don’t trust the care of your smile to just anyone; schedule an appointment at Castle Dental office today to protect your oral health for tomorrow!