Although tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, it can still break. People often chip or break teeth when biting down on hard food such as ice, nuts or hard candies or using their teeth to bite or chew things not intended for this. When chips happen, it is more than just a cosmetic flaw in your smile. Chipped teeth can cause discomfort and lead to serious infections. Dr. Roy Eskow of Bethesda Dental Implant Center in Bethesda, MD wants you to know your options for handling a chipped tooth before it becomes a serious issue.
What to Do for a Chipped Tooth
If you find yourself with a chipped, broken or fractured tooth, it’s important to visit Dr. Eskow or your local dentist as soon as possible. If you wait, your chipped tooth could lead to more serious issues requiring much more extensive treatment. Or, worse yet, the tooth could become infected, resulting in serious health risks and possible tooth loss.
5 Ways to Fix a Chipped Tooth at Home
It is crucial you see Dr. Eskow or your area dentist as soon as possible to repair your chipped tooth. However, until you are able to see a dentist, you can try the following self-care measures:
- Manage the pain by taking acetaminophen, ibuprofen or another type of over-the-counter pain reliever.
- Rinse your mouth out with salt water to reduce the risk of infection.
- If the chipped tooth has a jagged or sharp edge, cover it with a piece of sugarless chewing gum or wax paraffin to protect your tongue and cheek.
- Eat only softer foods and do not bite down on the damaged tooth until it has been treated by a dentist..
- Treat the tooth with Dentemp or a similar product, which are available at most drugstores and pharmacies. These are designed to temporarily cover or fill in a chipped tooth until you can consult with a dentist.
How Your Dentist Will Fix Your Chipped Tooth?
The treatment needed for a chipped or broken tooth depends largely on the severity of the damage incurred. If only a small piece of the enamel has chipped off, Dr. Eskow will most likely be able to repair the tooth in a single office visit. However, a badly broken or damaged tooth may require more complex procedures, which may take more than one office visit to complete. Below are some treatments Dr. Eskow or your area dentist may recommend to repair your chipped or broken tooth.
Filling or Bonding: If you’ve chipped away only a small piece of your enamel, your dentist may be able to repair the damage with a filling like they use to repair cavities. If the chip occurred to a front tooth, your dentist may use tooth-colored composite resin to discretely repair the damage. Called cosmetic dental bonding, this relatively simple procedure can usually be applied without any anesthetic. The dentist starts by covering the surface of the tooth with a special gel or liquid. Next, he or she will apply an adhesive substance, followed by the resin which is shaped to match the missing piece of your tooth. Your dentist will then cure the resin using a special ultraviolet light which causes it to harden so it can again be used for biting and chewing with the rest of your teeth.
Dental Veneers: Dr. Eskow or your local dentist can help chipped or broken teeth look healthy and flawless again by applying a dental veneer. Veneers are a thin shell of tooth-colored resin composite material or porcelain that are created and customized in a lab to cover your damaged teeth. Your dentist will then be adhered to the surface of your existing teeth using special cement.
Dental Cap or Crown: If you have lost a substantial portion of the damaged tooth, Dr. Eskow or your area dentist may need to file away part of the remaining tooth and cap it with a crown. These prosthetic tooth surfaces are designed to protect the tooth while also restoring function and appearance. If the pulp is exposed by the damage, your tooth may develop an infection. When this occurs, your dentist may have to remove the infected pulp through root canal therapy and then cap the treated tooth with a crown.
Repairing a Chipped Tooth in Bethesda, MD
Remember, do not wait to fix your chipped or damaged tooth. If you live in the Bethesda, MD area and have a chipped tooth or any other dental issue, trust Dr. Eskow and his team at Bethesda Dental Implant Center to restore the health and appearance of your smile. Call (301) 200-5222 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.