Having a chipped or broken tooth is potentially a dental emergency, depending on the extent of the damage. While you must contact an emergency dentist as soon as possible, you may be able to give your tooth some protection until you can get an appointment. Today we’re going to explain how to fix a chipped tooth and the methods your dentist might apply to deal with it.
A Dental Emergency: You’ve Chipped A Tooth
Maybe you’ve been knocked in the mouth accidentally, or perhaps you were biting down on your favourite hard candy at a birthday party. Regardless of the circumstances, chipping a tooth is inconvenient and you might not be able to get hold of an emergency dentist immediately. So what do you do?
Some pharmacies may have emergency repair kits available, to hold you over until you can see an emergency dentist. If that isn’t an option, you can use some softened paraffin wax and shape it over the chipped part of your tooth to give it some protection. If you’re out of paraffin wax, sugar-free chewing gum can be substituted.
Before your chipped tooth is treated, you should avoid sugar and hot and cold beverages. You may experience some sensitivity to temperature fluctuations. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can keep it clean and provide temporary pain relief while you wait for your dental appointment.
When Is A Chipped Tooth A Dental Emergency?
If a substantial part of your tooth is broken or chipped, it is a dental emergency. If you are in unbearable pain, or there is uncontrolled bleeding you must contact an emergency dentist or visit your nearest clinic immediately. Small chips might not be dental emergencies but they still need to be treated by a dentist, you just don’t have to break the sound barrier to get to the dental practice.
Remember that a chipped tooth can cause jagged edges that can cut your tongue or the inside of your cheeks, so you do need to be careful while you wait for dental treatment.
How To Fix A Chipped Tooth: What Your Dentist Would Do
The treatment for chipped teeth depends on the extent of damage that has been done. The sooner you can consult with your dentist, the better your chances of containing the damage and needing a minor restoration.
If the chip is small and doesn’t interfere with the function of your tooth, your dentist may use bonding to repair it. Composite resin will be shaped over the damaged area and hardened with a blue light. It will be shaped and polished to make it smooth. Bonding done with composite resin can last for up to 10 years.
If more extensive damage has been done, and it is only cosmetic, dental veneers allow you to cover the tooth up and conceal the chip. Veneers are thin shells that are used to cover damaged teeth. They can also be used when you have damaged a tooth that has already been bonded, or if there are other superficial imperfections you want to address.
If you have done more extensive damage that affects a large part of your tooth, you may need a dental crown. While a veneer only covers the front part of your tooth, crowns act as protective covers for the entire tooth, using it as a support structure. Dental crowns can protect the tooth from further damage or decay, and make it stronger.
When a crack or chip happens below your gum line, it’s possible that it can’t be saved. If this is the case, your dentist may recommend extracting it and replacing it with a dental implant.
Once the swelling has subsided after the extraction and you have had a chance to heal, your dentist will surgically embed a titanium screw into your jaw, onto which an extension piece and dental crown will be affixed.
When the dental implant procedure is complete your tooth replacement should feel and function just like the natural teeth in your mouth.
How To Fix A Chipped Tooth: What You Shouldn’t Do
Having a chipped tooth is a problem that only your dentist can solve. As tempting as it might be to use superglue or try to fix it yourself, it’s only going to cause unnecessary side effects and complications. Calling your dentist is your first course of action. If there are any home solutions you can apply, your dentist will let you know.
Do not try to use superglue or any other home adhesive, even if you do find the chipped piece. Adhesives are toxic and you run the risk of causing damage to your tooth if you use glue to do a home repair.
For help with how to fix a chipped tooth or a dental emergency please contact our practice immediately: (02) 9158 6211.
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