Ouch! I chipped a tooth!
A broken or chipped tooth is a common dental injury and could happen to anyone.
The chip or break can be a tiny one requiring no treatments or a big one requiring a major dental procedure to be fixed.
Is having a chipped tooth painful?
Well, it could be, depending on the kind of damage to the tooth.
If the person has just lost some enamel, they may not feel that much pain; if, however, a significant amount of enamel has been lost and the dentin is exposed (cracked teeth), yes, they may feel severe pain or sensitivity.
Exposed dentin consequences
Tooth enamel is so hard, actually the hardest substance in the human body and in charge of protecting your tooth from damage. Still, if it breaks off, it will expose the underlying layer, dentin, which is so sensitive to stimuli.
To what kind of stimuli?
- temperature, hot or cold, no difference
- acidic or sugary foods
- acidic or sugary drinks
The exposed dentin not only causes pain and sensitivity but will also increase your risks of tooth infection and tooth abscess, or even tooth loss!
See a dentist as soon as possible if you have a chipped or broken tooth to avoid further damage to your mouth.
What?! Wait a minute, does tooth enamel break?!
Yes, ok, tooth enamel is the toughest substance in our body; we know we have said that here and in all our articles before, but it doesn’t make it unbreakable! Of course, it may break!
Enamel can break due to an accident or sports injury or a perhaps powerful blow to the mouth!
So, watch out!
Causes of a chipped tooth
Why may a tooth chip?
Lots of reasons, for instance:
- using teeth as tools
- blow to your face
- biting down on hard foods or hard objects, like hard candy, or pen or pencil
- contact sports
- brittle tooth structure, which may be caused by root canal therapy
- teeth grinding
- having old dental restorations
- It is recommended to use a protective mouthguard while playing contact sport to prevent injuries to the face.
- Teeth grinding can result from having an uneven bite; discuss it with your dentist to see if you need orthodontic treatment to have it fixed.
Weakened teeth are relatively at more risk of being chipped or broken.
Your teeth may lose their strength due to:
- tooth decay
- large dental fillings
- consuming too many sugary and acidic foods and drinks
- tooth grinding
- acid reflux
- aging and natural wear and tear
The mentioned factors can compromise the strength of your teeth and make them prone to damage; good oral hygiene and regular dental Check-up scale and clean will ensure your oral health and lower your risk of dental problems.
Signs and symptoms of a chipped tooth
The most obvious sign would be seeing a part of your tooth missing; other symptoms may include:
- a tooth with jagged edges
- your tooth hurts when biting on foods or while chewing
- tooth sensitivity
- pain that is not constant; meaning the pain comes and goes
- swollen gum around the damaged tooth
- gum and tongue irritation because of the contact with the chipped or cracked tooth sharp edges
Visit a dentist near me immediately in case of chipped, cracked, or broken teeth to avoid further injury to your mouth.
Chipped tooth vs. Cracked tooth
Is it a chipped or cracked tooth?
Oh, they’re not the same?! Actually, not really!
While a chipped tooth and a cracked one may sound the same, and telling them apart is not that easy, there are still ways to tell you which one you have had.
- Unlike a chipped tooth that is obvious to notice, a cracked tooth is not that noticeable! So, you may have a cracked tooth without even being aware of it.
- Generally, cracks usually occur at the back of your mouth, where teeth are in charge of chewing. In contrast, you will typically experience a chipped tooth in a front tooth.
- A chipped tooth may need a simple dental procedure completed within one dental appointment to make it look and function like your natural tooth. A cracked tooth may require more invasive dental procedures, like a root canal treatment to be fixed.
- Having a chipped tooth will usually mean only a part of your tooth is affected, while a cracked tooth may affect the entire tooth.
Having your front tooth chipped can not only cause sensitivity or discomfort; it can also cause aesthetic issues for you and make you more self-conscious about your smile.
It doesn’t matter if you have chipped or broken or cracked teeth; they all can turn into a dental emergency if not addressed promptly!
Contact our PureDentistry dental team on 0733434869 to book an appointment and receive necessary dental care.
Treatments for a chipped or broken tooth
How to fix a chipped or broken tooth
Depending on the severity of the broken tooth and its location in your mouth, the treatment options will vary. Visit your dentist as soon as possible to avoid further injuries to your mouth.
Here are some possible treatments your dentist may suggest to fix damaged teeth:
Our Brisbane dentists may be able to fix a tooth with a small chip using a dental filling.
Porcelain covers for broken tooth repair
A dental crown is a dental restoration that a dentist will place on top of a tooth to protect a damaged tooth and restore its shape.
A dental crown:
- could be made of metal, porcelain fused to metal, or porcelain (ceramic)
- maybe used for larger breaks and cover the whole tooth, not just the front part of the tooth
- will cover your tooth when dental fillings are not the answer
- prevent further damage to your teeth like tooth decay
Porcelain covers over a front tooth for broken tooth repair
A dental veneer is a strong shell of material, the colour of your teeth and used to:
- cover your teeth surface (the front or just the visible part of the teeth)
- enhance their appearance
Teeth bonding is a cosmetic dental procedure that can repair a broken or chipped or cracked tooth. Dental bonding can be a good option for a small chip.
The procedure involves using a tooth-coloured composite resin to the tooth to restore its look.
The dentist will apply the tooth-coloured composite resin to your tooth and then use a special light to harden the material.
Root canal therapy
Root canals will be performed to repair chipped teeth if most of the tooth is chipped or broken and has exposed the tooth pulp.
The person will experience extreme pain in this case.
Dentists will remove the dead pulp, clean the space, and then probably place a temporary crown at the top of your tooth. You will have to come back later for a permanent crown.
Please avoid biting on hard foods while you have a temporary crown on your tooth.
What should you do if you have a broken or chipped tooth?
The best course of action would be visiting your dentist immediately to prevent the jagged edge of the broken tooth from damaging the soft tissues in your mouth or developing an infection.
Meanwhile, our Brisbane dentists suggest you:
- Collect the broken piece of the tooth if you can find it to take it to your dentist’s office. The dentist MAY be able to use the broken fragment if it sits back on the tooth very well. This is usually not the case, but it is always worth taking the broken fragment with you just in case.
- Wash your mouth using warm water, and then place a piece of moist gauze on the tooth.
- Put an ice pack on the affected side of your cheek to reduce inflammation.
- Take over-the-counter painkillers if you are in extreme pain or your tooth is bleeding.
- Eat soft foods if you have to eat something and refrain from eating hard and crunchy stuff.
In case your whole tooth is knocked out, pick up the knocked-out tooth by the crown, NOT the root, rinse it very gently and quickly with milk or water and try to put it back into its socket as soon as you can if you are not able to do this, put it in a glass of milk and go to your dentist as soon as possible.
What if I leave a chipped tooth untreated?
Even if the chipped tooth is not causing pain or discomfort, leaving it untreated can cause future dental problems for you.
So give us a call today on 0733434869 and leave your broken tooth in good hands at Pure Dentistry in Brisbane.