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Chipped Tooth Repair: What to Do, When to Do It

 
Chipped Tooth – Chipped teeth are more than just an aesthetic problem.

Each summer, dentist offices across the country fill with children nursing a chipped front tooth or two. Too much "fun" -- usually messing around at a swimming pool -- is to blame. Come winter, children are replaced with hockey players proudly sporting their own chipped teeth or worse. Between seasons, dentists see all manner of patients who've chipped their teeth in thousands of different, often memorable ways.

Dentists know that while every chipped tooth is as unique as the story behind it, most chipped teeth have one thing in common: They are the result of trauma to the mouth.

Luckily, there are several options for chipped tooth repair.

A Slightly Chipped Tooth Can Be a Big Deal

Chipped teeth are one of the most common dental injuries. Many people choose to ignore a chipped tooth or put off treatment if there isn't pain or blood. This is a mistake. It's important to see a dentist because a small chip often is the only visible sign of serious damage to a tooth. A thorough dental examination may reveal microscopic cracks affecting the health of the chipped tooth's nerve.

The Science and Art of Chipped Tooth Repair

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.

Preventing Chipped Teeth Isn’t Rocket Science

You'll find that a little common sense goes a long way in preventing the trauma that leads to a chipped tooth. Here are a few proven ways to protect your teeth from harm:

Wear a mouth guard. If you play contact sports or suffer from bruxism (or teeth grinding at night), you're more likely to experience a chipped tooth. Your dentist can fit you with a custom-fit mouth guard that will protect your teeth.

Be careful of what you eat. Hard and sticky foods are leading causes of chipped teeth. It's also smart to avoid chewing on non-food items, (e.g. pens, ice, etc.).

Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing teeth and flossing twice a day and seeing your dentists regularly help keep your teeth strong. Healthy teeth are less susceptible to chipping.

Don't wear mouth jewelry. People with pierced lips and tongues have a much higher incidence of chipped teeth. You might want to think twice -- or even three times -- before going forward with a piercing.

Bottom Line: Always Have a Chipped Tooth Checked Out

Don't take chances with chipped teeth. A seemingly minor chip may mask a serious injury. Only a dentist can determine the full extent of the damage and the best course of treatment.

If you're interested in chipped tooth repair, search now or call 1-866-970-0441.

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