What Does a Dentist Do for a Chipped Tooth?

The general advice is that it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist at least twice a year. However, this does not include the times when you have to schedule an emergency visit with your dentist for one reason or another. One of the most common reasons for visiting your dentist is to have a chipped tooth repaired. If you have chipped your tooth, you might be wondering, ‘What does a dentist do for a chipped tooth?’ It’s a good thing you’re seeking the answers to these questions because being informed keeps you from panicking in the worst-case scenario. Here’s everything you need to know about what does a dentist do for a chipped tooth.

Dental Filling

The first option when it comes to what does a dentist do for a chipped tooth is a filling. If you have been to the dentist to get a cavity filled, then you probably have a good idea of how this treatment works. During this process, your dentist uses a drill to remove the decayed bit before patching up the hole with a composite resin material that’s roughly the same color as your tooth. So, the filly won’t be as noticeable. Once your dentist applies the composite resin material, they will make sure it fits correctly and smoothly into your tooth before it hardens. If you have a chipped tooth, this is the teeth repair option that might be suitable for you. It must be noted that having a chipped tooth or a cavity can occur for similar reasons, which are failing to take care of our teeth and attend regular dental appointments.

Additionally, a chipped tooth can also happen accidentally, when you bite into something hard, such as when you’re chewing on ice or if you suffer from an impact or hard blow to the face. The enamel on your tooth can be pretty durable and strong, but given enough force, it’s easy for parts of a tooth to break off. Another thing to note is that your dentist might opt for a different treatment if you have chipped a front tooth that can be seen when you smile.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding can be quite an effective restorative dental care procedure for a chipped tooth. Therefore, if you need to know what does a dentist do for a chipped tooth, this procedure simply involves the application of a natural-colored composite resin to the surface of the tooth. As the name suggests, the composite resin bonds with your tooth, and your dentist will smooth it out to ensure a seamless fit. The biggest advantage of dental binding is that you can walk away with your teeth repaired in a single visit. Dental bonding is especially a great option for a chipped or broken tooth. Having such a tooth can affect your confidence or smile, but the bonding process will restore the appearance of your tooth.

It’s also the best treatment for hiding discoloration or altering the shape of the teeth. As mentioned, bonding is one of the most common dental restorative techniques because the composite resin that’s used blends naturally with your tooth and can be shaped or molded to match the rest of your teeth. Additionally, it’s a relatively affordable procedure compared to other options like dental implants, and the bonding can last for many years, depending on how well you care for your teeth. You might also like the fact that it’s minimally invasive. One downside of dental bonding is that the bonding resin can end up chipping or breaking, so it may end up back in the dental chair to get the same tooth fixed.

Dental Cap or Crown

Another solution to what does a dentist do for a chipped tooth is a dental cap or crown. As the name suggests, a crown is a cap that covers the top portion of a damaged tooth. If a large piece of a decayed tooth breaks off, your dentist may file away the tooth to remove the decayed parts. This is the case if your tooth is badly decayed or severely chipped. After grinding the affected tooth, your dentist will then place a tooth-shaped cap over it. This crown serves to maintain the structural integrity of the remaining tooth, protect it from further damage, and improve the tooth’s appearance. The good news is that dental crowns can be permanent and are designed to closely resemble the original tooth.

When you first go in for a consultation, your dentist will take X-rays and create an impression of the tooth. This impression is sent off to the lab, where a technician makes the natural-looking crown that will be fitted later. Dental crowns can be made from different materials, such as porcelain, resin, ceramic, or metal. Therefore, getting a chipped tooth fitted with a crown typically requires two visits to the dentist. Though in some cases, your dentist may already have the technology to create a crown on the same day they shape your tooth to make room for the cap.

Tooth Implant

A dental implant involves surgery to replace a missing tooth. When it comes to what does a dentist do for a chipped tooth, this option is a matter of last resort because your dentist will first do all they can to save your natural tooth. However, when your tooth gets chipped, the chip may extend to the roots, and your tooth might be too damaged to be restored with a dental crown or root canal therapy. In the rare instances when this happens, your dentist may recommend removing the tooth and replacing it with an implant.

Dental implant surgery is one of the more expensive treatments, but the good news is that your insurance agency might cover a portion of the costs for treatments like implants or orthodontic treatment such as braces if they’re deemed medically necessary. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your insurance agent to understand the details of what your plan will pay for.

If you opt for dental implants, your tooth will first need to be extracted. After applying a local anesthetic, your dentist will pull the teeth out, though you may not always get the implant on the same day. In that case, your dentist will schedule a second visit for the surgical installation of the implant. They will drill a hole where the implant is placed. Dental implants have titanium screws that have the ability to fuse with your jawbone, and a crown is then attached to this part. The major benefits of implants are they look and function like your natural teeth, and they can last for a lifetime.

Dental Veneers

Most people opt for dental veneers as a cosmetic procedure; hence they are commonly used to fix issues like stained teeth that can’t be whitened or bleached. Maybe you’ve been going to fitness clubs, dressing nicely, and working on improving your appearance. In that case, dental veneers may be the right option for you. They may also be the right answer to ‘What does a dentist do for a chipped tooth?’ If you have a chipped front tooth that’s affecting the appearance of your smile, a dental veneer can restore it. The veneer itself is a wafer-thin shell that’s placed over your chipped tooth. It’s custom-made using either porcelain or composite resin material and large enough to cover the whole front of the tooth.

The dental veneer will also have a thicker section that aligns with the chipped part of your tooth. To place the veneer, your dentist will have to shave off a few millimeters of your enamel on the tooth surface. An impression of the remaining tooth is made and sent off to the lab to facilitate the creation of a custom-made veneer. Once the veneer is ready, you visit your dentist again so it can be attached to the front part of the chipped tooth. Your dentist will first toughen the surface of the tooth before using a special cement to join the veneer to the prepared tooth. With the veneer in the right position, the cement is activated to harden it using a special light.

Root Canal Therapy

Sometimes, a tooth chip may result in damage to the tooth that exposes the pulp. The pulp is where all the nerves and blood vessels are located, so if a chipped tooth results in this kind of damage, it’s crucial to see a dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, there’s the risk of a bacterial infection or damage to the center of your tooth. If the pulp is badly damaged, then it needs to be removed to prevent a serious infection. This is where a root canal comes in. It involves removing the pulp of the affected tooth, cleaning the root, and cleaning the root canal before sealing it. The tooth is then filled with a replacement filling.

However, root canal therapy is only considered if the chipped tooth is severely damaged. In this case, the tooth needs the procedure to prevent it from dying, at which point it will need to be extracted. Otherwise, in most instances, treatment options like dental filling are considered. The downside of having a root canal to treat a chipped, broken tooth is that this weakens the tooth since it’s no longer receiving blood supply. The best option, in that case, would be to cover the remaining tooth with a crown for better protection instead of just leaving it with a replacement filling. It’s a good idea to discuss your treatment options for a chipped tooth with your dentist to figure out the best way forward.

What to Do If You Chip or Break Your Tooth

Besides asking about what does a dentist do for a chipped tooth, it also helps to know what you can do to address this issue. That’s because there’s almost always a time interval between when your tooth gets chipped and when you can see your dentist. In that case, you need to know what to do. First, you should collect any tooth fragments while making sure you’re handling them carefully to prevent any damage. If there’s bleeding, this needs to be controlled immediately by using sterile gauze or cloth to apply pressure. You can take pain medication like ibuprofen or apply a cool compress to treat swelling where necessary.

These are some of the things you can do while waiting to receive treatment. If you have a chipped tooth, you don’t necessarily have to go to an emergency room right away. That’s because the problem is not as bad as having a knocked-out tooth. Still, you always want to be prepared for situations like these. In that case, make sure you have a trusted dentist that specializes in family dentistry that you can call for advice when you have a chipped tooth. This can come in handy whenever a member of your family requires family dental care. If you have a child that’s recently suffered from a chipped tooth, it’s a good idea to reach out to a pediatric dentist to ensure they receive the right treatment.

Dental emergencies can happen at any time. After reading this information, you now at least know what to expect when it comes to what does a dentist do for a chipped tooth. Why is this important? Getting a chipped tooth repaired for cosmetic reasons should not be your only motivation. At times when you get your tooth chipped, there may also be underlying damage to your gums and tooth. Your dentist will know what to look out for and provide the right treatment to prevent further damage. Therefore, after learning all about what does a dentist do for a chipped tooth, you should take action and visit as soon as possible if there’s a chipped tooth that needs to be treated. Otherwise, an untreated chipped tooth might result in further weakening of the tooth structure, which increases the risk of more chips and cracks developing in the enamel over time.