So picture this – You’re eating a piece of hard candy or some ice (which you probably shouldn’t be doing) and then you realize something out of the ordinary- you have a chipped tooth. But don’t worry as you’re not alone, and the damage of a broken tooth can be repaired. There are also things you can do yourself to ease the pain and manage the inconvenience until you get to a dentist.
The most important thing to remember if you experience a chipped tooth or a broken tooth is not to worry or overreact. Dentists have many ways to repair broken or chipped teeth.
While waiting to see your dentist about a chipped tooth, consider taking a Tylenol or other over-the-counter pain medicine. You can rinse your mouth with salt water to keep infection at bay and reduce pain. Stick a piece of sugarless gum or some paraffin over any sharp edges to keep you from cutting your cheek or tongue on the protrusion. Lastly, try not to bite on anything. If you have to eat, try mashed potatoes, a smoothie, or other soft foods.
A chipped or broken tooth can be treated in a variety of ways depending on how badly it’s damaged. A small enamel chip can often be repaired quickly in a single office visit. A broken tooth may require a longer time to treat and greater cost may be involved.
A filling can sometimes work to solve a problem with damaged tooth enamel. If the results will be highly visible — like on a front tooth — the dentist may instead choose dental bonding. Bonding uses a tooth-colored resin and usually doesn’t even require numbing. The dentist simply sketches the tooth surface with a liquid to roughen it up a bit so the material will adhere, then an adhesive is applied. After that, the bonding material itself is added. Once a dentist properly shapes it, the bonded material looks just like a natural tooth. It is hardened under ultraviolet light and can be used normally almost immediately.
If a piece breaks off of a decayed tooth, the best option may be have the dentist grind away part of what remains and place a crown over it. This tooth-shaped cap looks like a normal tooth and protects what remains of the tooth. Each has its own benefits, but all-metal crowns are the strongest. Porcelain and resin crowns can look identical to real teeth, however. If a great deal of the tooth is missing, a pin or post can be placed in the tooth over which the dentist can build up a structure to hold a crown.
The simplest of all procedures is dental shaping, often used along with bonding. The dentist simply grinds away a portion of the remaining tooth to create a smooth and recontoured surface with adequate strength and a pleasing appearance. This procedure can easily smooth out small imperfections.
Veneers are thin wafers of porcelain that cover the entire front surface of the tooth. Usually used on front teeth, these can cover naturally imperfect teeth or cover repair work from a chipped or broken tooth that does not have a pleasing appearance.
If you are a concerned parent who wants to make sure your child’s teeth remain in vital condition, here are a couple of facts about teeth that you can keep in mind. People who drink 3 or more glasses of soda each day have 62% more tooth decay, fillings, and tooth loss than others. Replace pop with water, as it is healthier. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. However, it is not recommended that you use your pearly whites to open bottle caps.