Young woman smiling and pointing at teeth

If you chip or break a tooth, whether from a fall or a sports injury, you may be worried that your smile will never look right again. But rest assured that your dentist has the technology & skills to make sure your smile will look whole & natural again!

Even though teeth are made of the hardest substance in your body, they’re still vulnerable to damage from a variety of accidents or falls. Unfortunately, these accidents can be difficult to anticipate, but one of the best ways to protect your teeth is to wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports.

Why Is It Important for a Dentist to Look at Your Chipped Tooth?

When a tooth is broken, it often exposes the inner pulp of the tooth. The pulp contains the tooth’s nerve, so this exposure can be quite uncomfortable, & you might experience sensitivity or pain. Seeing the dentist as soon as possible is critical not just for looking better, but also feeling better. 

What to Do If You Chip a Tooth

To help clean the area & avoid infection, rinse your mouth with warm water right away. If you’re bleeding, apply pressure to stop it, & use a cold compress to reduce any swelling. Once you’ve cleaned the area & stopped any bleeding, call your dentist immediately to set up an appointment.

If you’re not able to get into your dentist’s office immediately, you can apply dental wax over any jagged edges to protect your tongue & mouth. You can find dental wax at most drugstores. It’s also important to try to avoid chewing on the side of the chipped tooth—you can break your tooth even more with just one bite!

Treatment Options

Dentists have many different options for treating chipped or broken teeth, depending on the level of the damage. These treatment options include bonding, veneers & crowns. 

For small chips or those that don’t involve replacing a significant portion of tooth structure, bonding can be performed in one office visit. A tooth-colored paste made of composite, a plastic-like substance, is molded into the shape needed to make the tooth look whole again. Once the composite is hardened with a special blue light, you’re ready to go! 

Patients who have trouble with bonding falling off repeatedly may opt for veneers for a more permanent solution. Veneers are porcelain sleeves that slide over the front surface of the tooth & are cemented in place. Because they only cover the front of the tooth, veneers are more likely to be used to restore appearance, not structure. 

When a tooth is so damaged that the majority of its structure is compromised, a crown may be needed to fully restore it. Crowns, also known as caps, are hollow artificial teeth that can be slipped over a damaged tooth to repair both its appearance & function. A crown can also strengthen the tooth beneath it & protect it from decay.

If you have a chipped tooth, be sure to talk to your dentist to decide the best treatment option for you. No matter the treatment method you & your dentist choose, your smile will look & feel better!

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