Chipped A Tooth? Here’s What You Should Do
Why our Chelmsford patients should not ignore this sometimes seemingly small dental issue
There are some dental issues which we know patients might be tempted to ignore, rather than have it checked out by a dentist. Chipping a tooth is one of these. On the surface of it, it might seem like little more than a minor inconvenience but it can have repercussions which can affect the health of that tooth, often over a period of time.
It is likely that some people see a tooth as a single block of material, rather as they might see a fingernail, for example. A tooth however, is a complex structure and even relatively minor damage can have a significant impact on it. In today’s blog, the Blue Sky Dental team takes a look at what you should do if you have, or suspect you have, chipped a tooth.
What you shouldn’t do
Perhaps most importantly, you shouldn’t ignore any damage to your teeth, no matter how irrelevant you might think it is. Always contact your local Chelmsford dental practice and arrange an appointment to have the tooth checked out. It may well be that no treatment will be needed, but only a dentist can examine the tooth in detail and make that decision.
“Oh .. it’s just a little chip”. How often have we told ourselves that when we have bitten down on something and felt a tooth break before feeling it with our tongue and realising that only a small piece has broken off? Even if you decide to see a dentist to have it checked out, it might seem like one of those things that you can do ‘when you have time’. Depending on the nature of the damage though, the tooth may have become compromised and delaying your dental visit could cause the chip to weaken the tooth, leading to more of it breaking away and exposing the more vulnerable dentin layer beneath the enamel. When this happens, tooth decay can occur, as can a root canal infection that will require more invasive dental services.
If the only damage is to the surface enamel and the chip is so small that it causes no concern for the health of the tooth, the dentist may recommend no action be taken. Sometimes though, even where the damage is this minor it can still cause problems for the patient if the rough edge of the chip is causing damage to the soft tissues of the tongue or cheeks. This can lead to painful cuts and abrasions which also cause discomfort, especially when eating. The dentist may choose to smooth this rough edge using a bonding material.
Where the chip is deemed to be significant enough to be a threat to the tooth, there are a number of treatment options available. Which one is used can only be determined following a thorough examination by the dentist. There are four likely solutions available.
Bonding – As mentioned above, this can be applied to a tooth to not only smooth out the rough edges that may cause discomfort, but also to provide it with some protection from further damage.
Filling – Where the chip is more extensive and especially where the dentin has been exposed, a filling might be used to restore the tooth. For those concerned that this might spoil their smile, we offer tooth coloured fillings which can be produced in the same shade as your natural teeth.
Veneers – Where a front tooth has chipped to such a degree that restoration is needed, porcelain dental veneers offer a great option. These can restore the appearance of your teeth whilst offering good protection. Providing that you take good care of the veneer, it should also last you for approximately ten years or so.
Crowns – A crown, or cap as it is sometimes called, is usually only used where the damage is significant and would probably be classed more as a breakage than a chip. Crowns do offer strong protection where this is needed and again, can be made in a shade to match your own natural teeth.
All of the above offer good protection for a damaged tooth and will be carried out by our skilled and experienced dental team. For those who have neglected any damage and have the misfortune of a root canal infection, we can also provide the services of an experienced endodontist who will seek to treat the problem with a root canal procedure.
The bottom line though, as with all dental problems, is that we strongly advise that you seek an appointment with us as soon as you can so that any minor damage can be treated to prevent the situation from worsening. To book your appointment at our Chelmsford dentists, please call Blue Sky Dental on 01245 211070.