A chipped tooth can be a serious problem if left untreated. It can cause immense pain, damage the internal structure of the tooth, and even lead to an abscess. Treatment for a broken or chipped tooth will depend on the severity of the damage, but it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage. A severely chipped tooth can ruin the aesthetics of your smile and make you feel self-conscious about how you look.
It can be the result of biting something hard, tooth decay, or even bruxism (grinding your teeth during the night). Regardless of the severity of your chipped tooth, you need dental treatment to prevent it from becoming a major problem and to restore your smile. If only a small piece of enamel breaks, the repair can usually be done simply in an office visit. A severely damaged or broken tooth may require a longer and more expensive procedure.
Your dentist can repair your broken or chipped tooth in several ways. A dental veneer is a thin layer of tooth-colored porcelain or resin composite material that covers the entire front of the tooth (like a false nail covers a nail) with a thicker section to replace the broken part of the tooth. In cases with extreme pulp or root damage, tooth extraction may be necessary and the dentist will replace the missing tooth with a dental implant or bridge. It is important to be aware of the signs that indicate a chipped tooth is a dental emergency. Applying pressure to the chipped tooth can cause immense pain, and hot and cold temperatures can also be painful.
If a large part of the tooth enamel breaks, dentin is likely to be exposed and the tooth will feel tender. If a splinter or broken tooth is large enough to expose the pulp (the center of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels), bacteria from the mouth can enter and infect the pulp. To prevent further damage, it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible after you chip your tooth. Your dentist will assess the severity of your chipped tooth and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. In addition, it is important to practice good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and avoiding hard foods that could cause further damage.