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What to Do If You Chip a Tooth

A chipped tooth can be more than just a painful inconvenience. If you find yourself with a visibly chipped tooth it can also be very embarrassing. The trauma, pain and damage caused by a chipped tooth can be overwhelming. What should you do if you have chipped a tooth?

Believe it or not, chipping a tooth is actually a very common dental injury in both adults and children but that doesn’t mean you will know what to do when it happens. Whether you have a small or large chip in your tooth it needs immediate attention.

What can you expect?

A small chip may not cause any pain but a jagged edge can be an annoyance. And just because there isn’t any pain, does not mean that there isn’t other damage that you cannot see. Consult your dentist immediately so he can do a thorough examination, possibly using x-rays, to determine if there is additional damage.

A tooth with a large chip will likely cause pain. You will want to take an over the counter pain reliever and consult with your dentist immediately so he can assess the damage.

How can your chipped tooth be fixed?

Your dentist will evaluate your chipped tooth and advise you on the best treatment options. Possible treatment options include:

  • Dental bonding which includes filling in of the chipped area.
  • Smoothing of the tooth if the chip is very small.
  • Veneers may be used for more significant damage. These will cover the surface of the tooth and are most often used with front teeth.
  • A root canal may be necessary if the nerve is exposed.
  • A crown may be used if a root canal was necessary.
  • Extraction may be performed if damage is extensive and the tooth cannot be saved.

Treatment will depend on the extent of damage to the tooth. Broken teeth and teeth with cracks will require examination to determine which treatment is best.

Good oral hygiene and a healthy, nutrient packed diet can help you avoid the pain and embarrassment of a chipped tooth. When children are young and unstable, watch them closely and control their environment to avoid falls that could result in a chipped tooth. Sometimes prevention is the best treatment of all.

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