Does a Chipped Tooth Require Immediate Attention?

Learn about what qualifies as an emergency situation when it comes to chipping your teeth and how best to handle it.

Does a Chipped Tooth Require Immediate Attention?

Minor dental fractures or chipped teeth are dental fractures that don't require an immediate visit to the dental office. The reason is that the situations do not pose any immediate threat to the patient's overall health and well-being. Therefore, scheduling a regular dentist appointment should suffice. But does a broken tooth require an emergency visit to the dentist? The answer to that question isn't always clear. It depends on the severity of the fracture.

For example, smaller chips can wait for a regularly scheduled appointment. However, seek medical attention right away if a significant part of the tooth breaks. In many cases, a dentist can include emergencies in the program at any time. A good rule of thumb is that if you went to the emergency room or urgent care for other injuries, you should also see a dentist about your damaged tooth. See a dentist even if urgent care doctors say your tooth is OK; your dentist is better qualified to judge a dental injury.

A dental emergency would require consulting a dental professional for help. If you need immediate care, it's best to try to schedule a same-day appointment. And, if you can't get a same-day appointment, you can try going to a hospital emergency room or urgent care center. This is one way to get medical treatment while waiting to see the dentist. So what qualifies as a dental emergency? If you find that your mouth is bleeding excessively, if you experience severe tooth pain, or if you have tooth loss, it is considered a dental emergency.

However, a broken tooth may not require immediate dental care. If you just chipped a tooth and you don't experience sharp pain, only discomfort, then scheduling a dentist appointment may be enough. A chipped tooth is not a threat to your immediate health or general well-being. If you experience any toothache, it can be managed with over-the-counter medications until you can see your regular dentist. Your dentist will most likely smooth out a small splinter. In the case of a broken tooth, the dentist may need to fill the space with a composite dental bonding material that matches the teeth.

Remember that a broken or chipped tooth, while not always an emergency, should be treated sooner rather than later. If left untreated for too long, it could cause more damage to the tooth or mouth. Every time you put pressure on a chipped tooth, it can cause discomfort. Mild discomfort may not be a sign of a dental emergency, but severe biting discomfort that only goes away when the pressure is relieved is an indication that the problem requires immediate dental care. You may not notice it when you have small chips or fractures, while others may be sharp or jagged.

A cracked tooth can occur when biting too hard, from a blow to the face during sports, or when grinding your teeth at night while sleeping, among many other ways, so it is important to always seek treatment for a cracked tooth and understand the signs that may indicate the need for treatment of a cracked tooth dental emergency. The most common signs that a fractured tooth may be a dental emergency include visible signs of serious cracking, pain when biting or chewing, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, swollen gums, or toothache that lasts for an extended period of time or that worsens suddenly. This is because the crack can leave the root of the tooth more exposed and the nerves of the tooth are mainly located in the root of the tooth. If you are not satisfied with the appearance of your tooth or if you have a sharp edge on your tooth that bothers your tongue or cheek, then it's wise to have your tooth treated right away. Some tooth damage needs to be analyzed as soon as possible, but other times you may postpone treatment for a chipped tooth until convenient. The severity of your chipped tooth is probably related to the severity of the accident in which it occurred. If you lose a tooth or have a cracked or fractured tooth and there is more than moderate pain and bleeding then it's an emergency and you should get emergency dental care right away.

Therefore, sometimes dentists choose to repair the chip with a porcelain veneer which will cover the entire tooth rather than just the chipped space. If you only bit hard foods and your tooth broke then it's less likely to be an urgent problem than if for example your tooth was damaged in an automobile accident. So when deciding if a broken tooth qualifies as an emergency situation remember that minor splinters or minor breaks can wait for a regularly scheduled dental appointment. Other times you may break a tooth or have a chipped tooth just by biting something hard such as candy or ice.

Priscilla Fusco
Priscilla Fusco

Subtly charming tv buff. Award-winning beer fanatic. Friendly social media fanatic. Lifelong twitter ninja. Internet guru. Amateur pop culture lover.

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