We’ve all seen it happen numerous times on TV and cartoons…
The comical sight of an animated, tenacious cat getting his chompers smashed in by a large, wooden mallet as part of a devious plan by the elusive mouse, for example.
Then – drum snare, laughs, and applause.
But in reality…chipping a tooth is hardly a laughing matter.
Especially when it happens to you.
Rated as the most common dental injury according to ADA national surveys, a chipped tooth, if left untreated, can in fact lead to greater (and more expensive) complications down the road.
What To Do If You’ve Chipped a Tooth
First and foremost, don’t panic!
Take a deep breathe. These things happen.
A clear and centered mind will never steer you wrong, so keep calm and carry on.
Contact your dentist immediately.
If it is past regular office hours, then yes, this qualifies as an emergency, and most dental departments will have an emergency contact number for you to access.
Once you get a hold of someone, you’ll be asked a series of questions to assess the severity of the trauma — where is the location of the break? Are you experiencing pain in the damaged tooth?
These are critical to your dental professional because any pain you experience could be indication of an exposed nerve, in which case a root canal may be necessary to salvage the tooth.
Fortunately, in most cases, a chipped tooth will not result in the necessity of surgery.
But any chip, however small, should still be considered seriously, and should be followed up by contacting your emergency dental professional as quickly as possible!
Options for a Chipped Tooth
Depending on the severity, different procedures may be recommended to repair the damage.
Luckily, most instances of chipped teeth only require minor cosmetic dental work that can usually be completed in a single visit.
Dental Bonding is an effective and durable composite resin that is applied to the damaged area of the tooth, and structured by your dental professional to appear identical prior to the incident (in both shape and color.)
This is the most frequent treatment for a chipped tooth – and yes, it’s cost-friendly!
Veneers are a secondary option for a chipped tooth, though is not a common resort for the majority of cases. Only when the tooth is so damaged that composite resin cannot be applied, will a veneer be necessary.
These thin, porcelain shells will be applied to the surface of your damaged tooth using a high quality resin cement to keep them in place and restore your original dental appearance, pain-free!
Root canals become necessary when the damage is severe enough to expose a nerve. While this option may make you cringe at the thought, without it, the damaged tooth will inevitably become infected, causing the nerves within the pulp chamber to die off, and with it, the tooth itself.
Fortunately, a well-timed root canal can save your tooth and prevent further pain down the road!
Tooth extraction is the last resort, and it is, sadly, exactly what you think it is.
Only when none of the previous procedures can save your damaged tooth, will it come to this.
Good news though! These days a dental bridge/dental implant are viable options that your dental professional will be able to assist you in, should this be the case.
Remember, there is no substitute for vigilance when it comes to your dental health! While accidents may happen – as they often do in the big, bad world – we here at CuteSmile Dentistry are more than happy to come to your aid!