When is a Chipped Tooth an Emergency?

Understand when a broken or chipped tooth requires emergency care and when it can wait for treatment. Learn what signs indicate if emergency care is needed for a broken or cracked tooth.

When is a Chipped Tooth an Emergency?

While broken teeth are serious business, there are two types of fractures that aren't considered emergency. There is no threat to your overall health and well-being. However, it is important to understand when a broken tooth is a dental emergency and when it can wait. It all depends on the severity of the rupture.

For instance, minor splinters can wait, but a major break can cause so much pain that instant dental intervention is necessary. The dentist can always leave room to attend to the emergency. Remember, the sooner you undergo treatment, the better your chances of reducing the infection. Repairing a chipped tooth depends on the amount of tooth that has broken.

A chipped tooth is usually not an emergency and can be corrected with a dental bond. This means that your dentist will apply a strong tooth-colored material to restore the shape of the tooth. Yes, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible to repair a chipped tooth. Although it may appear mild and painless, a chipped tooth is weaker and has a high risk of further chipping or breaking.

Larger breaks will most likely cause more tooth pain, especially if there has been damage to the nerves in the tooth. In addition, a piece of protective enamel will be missing, exposing the internal nerves of the tooth and making it sensitive to pressure and to hot, cold, sweet, and acidic foods and drinks. If a large part of the tooth enamel breaks, the dentin is likely to be exposed and the tooth will feel tender. 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.

Depending on the dentist's or patient's preference, the chip can be fixed with a porcelain veneer, covering the entire tooth instead of being temporarily patched with bondage. Minor dental fractures or chipped teeth are dental fractures that don't require an immediate visit to the dental office. However, if you know what to look for, there are signs that can indicate if emergency care is needed for a broken tooth, such as how much tooth broke. With larger chips reaching the inside of the tooth, the pulp, which is made up of connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves, can be damaged and infected quickly and begin to die. Whether you have a chipped tooth that needs filling or a sensitive tooth that requires root canal treatment, your office should be able to get you in quickly.

Ignoring a chipped tooth could lead to worse dental problems down the line. The sharp edges of a chipped tooth can cut through the cheek, tongue, or gums causing painful wounds in the mouth that could make talking and eating uncomfortable. However, any chip, crack or break that affects the integrity of your teeth (even if it is not accompanied by pain or bleeding) may require repair to preserve long-term dental health. Not every case of a broken tooth is an emergency situation but there are some clear indicators when a broken or cracked tooth needs immediate care. For some people, a chipped tooth may only be an aesthetic concern that only affects their smile and therefore needs no treatment.

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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