Ways Your Dentist Can Repair a Chipped Tooth
If you've ever broken a tooth, you know firsthand how frightening the experience can be. It's easy to let your mind run wild with anxious questions: What do I do now? What can I do to fix it? Is my tooth going to be like this forever?
The good news is that chipped tooth repair is simpler than you think. A cracked tooth is a relatively common dental injury with various treatment options. There is no reason for you to be resigned to starting your new life with a broken tooth.
However, it's also important to know that you won't be able to fix the problem yourself, and ignoring a chipped tooth can lead to further damage or infection that creates a more serious medical problem. In a previous blog, we outlined what to do when you chip your tooth, but the most important step is to schedule an appointment with Lakeview Family Dental as soon as possible. They will be able to prevent further injury, assess the level of damage, offer recommendations for appropriate treatment, and restore the health and appearance of your teeth.
If you're in or near Sylmar, feel free to contact our team at Lakeview Family Dental. Saman Nazarian DDS, has practiced restorative dentistry for 10 years and has experience repairing chipped teeth of all kinds. No matter the level of damage or type of break, we can find the right treatment for you and get your teeth looking and feeling better than new ones.
Read on to learn about the variety of treatments that your dentist may recommend for chipped tooth repair.
Small, superficial chips or minor cracks in the enamel (the hardy white tissue covering the tooth's outermost surface) may not require any medical treatment. If the damage is surface-level or merely cosmetic, your dentist will likely only “buff it out” and smooth down any rough spots or jagged edges.
Filling or Bonding
Mildly to moderately chipped or fractured teeth can often be fixed with a dental filling. Fillings are ideal for molars or teeth further back in the mouth and aren't visible while smiling.
For damaged front teeth, dental bonding may be a better option. This is a simple procedure in which your dentist will “replace” the missing portion of the tooth with composite resin. There are many color matches available, and the bonding material can be shaped to look like your real tooth, so bonding produces very natural-looking results that can last up to 10 years.
Another option for very natural-looking results is dental veneers. Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are custom-made to fit over the front of your teeth, much like a false nail fits over your fingernail. They mimic natural teeth in color, shine, strength, and feel, requiring little maintenance. Your dentist will permanently bond them to your real teeth, and from there, you take care of them as you would any other tooth. With proper dental hygiene, veneers can last for longer than twenty years.
Since dental veneers are custom-made, they'll require at least two appointments. During the first, your dentist will prepare your teeth for adhesion and take impressions of your mouth. They will provide tooth care instructions and temporary veneers to wear until the second appointment, when your custom veneers will be attached.
Dental Crowns or Caps
For more serious fractures, your dentist will likely suggest a full-coverage dental crown (sometimes referred to as a dental cap). Crowns are similar to veneers but shield the entire tooth instead of covering the front surface. They are comfortable, natural-looking, and long-lasting, making them an ideal solution for restoring a broken, damaged, or weakened tooth.
Root Canal Therapy
If the chip or crack in your tooth is large enough to expose the pulp at the center, then your dentist will probably recommend root canal therapy. Your tooth pulp contains lots of nerve endings and blood vessels, and it is very sensitive to infection from bacteria in the mouth. If the pulp tissue dies and is not removed, the tooth itself will need to be extracted, and infection can spread. Make sure to prevent this from happening by protecting the pulp!
During a root canal, your dentist will remove any dead pulp tissue, clean out the inside of your tooth, and seal it with a dental crown. This will prevent further damage and restore the look and function of your tooth.
If the tooth has cracked below the surface of your gum line, then your dentist may not be able to fully repair or protect it. In this case, they will likely recommend a dental extraction to replace the broken tooth with a dental implant.
Dental implants are exactly what they sound like: synthetic teeth that are surgically implanted directly into your jaw bone and capped with a crown. The bone will “grow” around the implant in a process called osseointegration, and the implant will look, feel, and function just like the rest of your teeth. They are a comfortable, reliable, permanent solution to irreparable tooth damage.
No matter the type of damage to your tooth, our team at Lakeview Family Dental can help. With 10 years of experience with restorative and cosmetic dentistry, we are well-qualified to find the best possible treatment available and restore the look and health of your teeth as soon as possible. Contact us today to get started!