Chipping a Tooth: What Do You Do?

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It’s a nightmare scenario: you’re eating hard candy or crunching on some cold ice, and you notice something funny in your mouth. Something hard that isn’t melting. To your absolute horror, you realize you’ve chipped off a piece of your tooth.

While teeth are incredibly strong, even enamel has its limits. Food is one thing, but trauma like a fall or accident can also cause a chipped tooth. Thankfully, your dentist can help you fix it, but how they do it varies based on the degree of the chip, the condition of your teeth, and other factors. Today we’ll talk about several different ways your dentist can help after chipping a tooth.

Dental Bonding and Filling

A small chip and typically be fixed in one office visit. Small chips can be fixed with basic fillings similar to those used for cavities, but if it’s in a high visibility area, your dentist will use bonding instead. Bonding uses a specialized resin that’s color matched to your teeth.

Bonding is very simple and requires no numbing or anesthesia. The dentist first etches your tooth, which sort of works like sanding in that it roughs up the surface to give the bonding more adhesive power. They then apply the resin and shape it to match the tooth, then use UV light to harden it.

Caps and Crowns

Some chips are very severe, and if left untreated, can become worse due to decay and infections. In this case, your dentist may use a crown to repair the tooth. Crowns typically take two office visits. The first visit is to determine the scope of the damage and to do prep work. The second is usually where the actual crown is installed.

A crown may be installed in several ways. In some cases, your dentist just has to file the tooth down a bit, put a crown on top, and you’re good to go. With others, you may need a full root canal to install a sort of “post” to mount the crown on.

Veneers

Veneers are specifically designed to cover the front of a tooth, making them ideal for dents or cracks. This is especially useful for front teeth that have high smile visibility. Veneers can also have thicker sections to replace fully broken parts of a tooth.

Similar to caps and crowns, veneers require two office visits. The first visit is to make an impression of the tooth for accurate veneer casting, and the second is to actually install it. The process is similar to bonding: etch the tooth for greater bonding, followed by installation.

Have a chipped tooth? Klooster Family Dentistry can help you fix it! We have locations in Raleigh and Holly Springs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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