May 2nd, 2013
You finally get some time to yourself and decide to have a quick snack. You make a grab for your favorite mixed nut bar and take a big bite. All of a sudden, something doesn't feel right in your mouth. You realize those almonds that you just munched left you with a chipped tooth.
Even though the enamel that covers teeth is considered the hardest, most mineralized tissue in the body, it may not be able to hold up against a blow to the face or even a hard bite, which can easily cause a broken or chipped tooth. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic! There are many ways your dentist can help out!
- Once a broken or chipped tooth is broken, be sure to make an appointment with your dentist before the tooth is damaged further or becomes infected. Before the appointment, here are some tips to ease the pain:
- If the tooth is painful, take acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, or other over-the-counter pain relievers. Rinsing with salt water can keep you less susceptible to infection.
- If the chipped area is sharp or jagged, stick a piece of wax or sugarless gum to keep from cutting the tongue or other areas inside the mouth.
- Be sure to eat soft foods and avoid using the chipped or broken tooth.
Once it comes time to treating the tooth, it will depend on the severity of the damage. If only a small piece of enamel is broken off, the dentist may be able to fix it within one visit. The tooth may only need a filling or bonding, which is a procedure in which the dentist will shape a tooth-colored resin to look like a natural tooth.
If it is badly broken, the tooth can be covered with a crown, which is a tooth shaped cap made to protect the tooth and improve its appearance. Permanent crowns can either be made from metal, porcelain fused to metal, all resin, or all ceramic, each with their own pluses. Metal crowns are known to be the strongest, however, porcelain and resin crowns are more aesthetically pleasing and can be made to look more like the original tooth.
When a front tooth is broken, dentists can insert a dental veneer, which is a thin shell of tooth-colored porcelain or resin composite material. The veneer will make teeth look brand new, whole and healthy again. However, if a tooth chip is large enough to expose the center of the tooth, also know as the pulp, bacteria can easily infect this area. Root Canal therapy may be necessary, which involves taking out the dead pulp, cleaning the root canal, and then finally sealing it.
If you find you have a cracked tooth, it would be a good idea to chat with your dentist about Cracked Tooth Syndrome, which is when one has cracks either under the gum, or cracks too small to see on x-rays. Generally, symptoms are heat/cold sensitivity, pain that comes and goes (unlike a cavity), and occasionally, pus under the gum.
If you believe that you have chipped or broken your tooth, Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions about ways to go about fixing the tooth. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment and consultation.