After examining the severity of the damage to the chipped tooth, your dentist will determine how best to fix it. If the chip is small, the repair may be completed during a single dental visit. Chipped teeth with more extensive damage may require multiple visits and procedures, including a possible root canal.
Chipped teeth are typically repaired in one of the following ways:
Dental Filling or Bonding -- Dental bonding uses a tooth-colored composite resin to fill in the damaged area. A relatively simple and highly cost-effective procedure, it usually does not require numbing the tooth. The durability and versatile cosmetic nature of bonding make it ideal for correcting minor dental imperfections like a slightly chipped front tooth. Your dentist will use a special liquid to roughen the tooth's surface so that the bonding material will adhere to it. Next, adhesive and bonding material are applied. Your dentist will then shape the material to match your tooth. Once the match is perfect, your dentist will use ultra-violet light to harden the repair.
Enamel Shaping -- Minor chips and other surface imperfections are often corrected by removing or recontouring a small portion of the tooth's surface. Enamel shaping is regularly used in conjunction with dental bonding.
Dental Veneer -- A dental veneer is a thin porcelain wafer which completely covers the surface of a tooth. Commonly used to repair a severely chipped front tooth, dental veneers are ideal for chipped teeth which are too damaged to be corrected by dental bonding or enamel shaping.
Root Canal -- A root canal is usually called for if the chipped tooth has an exposed nerve. The procedure removes the inflamed nerve tissue thus eliminating the pain and saving the tooth. After the root canal is completed, a dental crown will be used to cap the tooth.
Dental Crown -- A dentist will use a tooth crown to cover major chips in larger teeth.
Extraction -- Sometimes a chipped tooth is too damaged to be saved. In these situations, a tooth extraction becomes the treatment of last resort. The extracted tooth can be replaced with a dental bridge or dental implant.