You can chip a tooth in multiple ways, such as opening a package with your teeth or biting down on foods that are especially hard. Unless the chip is deep enough to expose the nerves inside your tooth, you will most likely feel no pain. However, this doesn't mean that we don't need to examine the tooth to determine the extent of damage and our recommendation for keeping the situation from becoming worse.
What You Should Do First
We will get you into our office as soon as possible, but there are important ways to care for your chipped tooth in the meantime. If you're not experiencing pain, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication will keep swelling to a minimum. In addition, be sure to rinse your mouth with mouthwash after eating if the chip is in a place where food particles can settle into it. This is especially true if brushing causes discomfort.
How Do You Know If Your Chipped Tooth Needs to Be Fixed?
The only way to know for sure if your chipped tooth needs treatment is for us to examine it. Even if you aren't having pain, we still want to ensure that the situation doesn't get to a point where you are. We can also give recommendations for cosmetic fixes if the chip is visible and is making you self-conscious about your smile.
Common Treatments for a Chipped Tooth
For a small chip, we may be able to simply smooth away the chip and polish the tooth. With medium-sized chips that have only damaged as deep as the enamel, we'll typically recommend a filling or a crown. Either will restore your tooth to a more natural appearance with full functionality. In the case of larger or severe chips that extend into the pulp where nerves reside, it's likely that we'll recommend a root canal, followed by a crown.
Don't let a chipped tooth linger too long without scheduling an exam. Contact our office as soon as possible so we can assess your treatment needs.