Our teeth are extremely hard rigid structures that break down the food we eat and aid digestion. The surface of the tooth is covered in enamel, which is considered one of the hardest substances in the body. However, in certain situations, the enamel can chip off and can result in a broken tooth. There are a number of different scenarios where this may take place, and here we shall take a look what causes a chipped tooth and how it can be fixed.
Causes of a chipped tooth
Chipping of the tooth can occur following a direct blow on the face. In patients who have pre-existing decay, the tooth becomes vulnerable to breakage from minimal trauma such as biting on a hard food substance.
It is not uncommon for individuals to panic once they have suffered from a chipped tooth. However, it may be reassuring to know that the chipped tooth can be easily fixed thanks to advanced dental repair techniques.
The first steps
Once a tooth has chipped off, it is important to fix an appointment to visit the dentist as soon as possible. This is done for cosmetic reasons and also to prevent any infection from developing if a large chunk of the tooth is chipped off.
In the event that the chipped tooth has caused pain, taking over the counter pain killers is often sufficient. This can include tablets such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A sharp tooth remnant after the tooth has chipped off can cause injury to the nearby structures such as the cheek or tongue, and this can be painful. Covering the sharp tip with chewing gum is an easy way to ensure that the injury is minimal and is a good way to prevent trauma till a dentist is seen.
Fixing the chipped tooth
The best way to fix a chipped tooth is to fill it with a suitable dental filler. This is particularly helpful if only a small part of the tooth has chipped off. The filler can fix the gap and can be shaped in order to restore near normal dental shape. Special material called bonding material is used, and in bonding the existing tooth surface is roughened up following which a small amount of the bonding material is placed that helps reshape the tooth.
If a large chunk of the tooth has chipped off, patients may need a dental cap or crown. This is also used if the chip is small but the tooth has decayed a fair bit. Crowns can be metallic or porcelain, and the choice depends on the patient and the dentist.
While the above techniques are useful in treating the molars, the front incisor teeth can also be chipped. In this situation, porcelain dental veneers may be used that will cosmetically enhance the appearance of the broken tooth.
In rare situations, especially in the presence of severely decayed teeth, a root canal may need to be done before the tooth is fixed.
Fixing a chipped tooth is straightforward, and multiple options are available that can help maintain cosmetic appearance. Chipped tooth? No problem!