How to Care for a Chipped Tooth or Broken Tooth
Fix your chipped tooth, if broken or fractured. Call a dentist as soon as possible to prevent tooth damaged or further infection. Delays can possibly causing you to end up losing the tooth. In the meantime, try the following self-care measures:
1) If the tooth is painful, take acetaminophen or another over-the-counter pain reliever. Rinse your mouth with salt water.
2) If the break has caused a sharp or jagged edge, cover it with a piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum. Do this to keep it from cutting your tongue or the inside of your lip or cheek.
3) If you must eat, eat soft foods and avoid biting down on the broken tooth.
Treatment for a broken or chipped tooth will depend on the severity of damage. If only a small piece of enamel broke off, the repair is fixable in one office visit. A badly damaged or broken tooth may require a more lengthy and costly procedure.
Here are some ways your dentist may repair your broken or chipped tooth.
Dental Filling or Bonding
The dentist can fix small pieces of chipped off tooth enamel with a filling. The dentist will use a procedure called bonding If the damage is to a front tooth or it is visible while smiling,. Bonding uses a tooth-colored composite resin.
Bonding is a simple procedure that typically does not require numbing the tooth. To bond a tooth, the dentist first etches its surface with a liquid or gel to roughen it and make the bonding material stick to it. Next, the dentist applies an adhesive material to the tooth followed by a tooth-colored resin. After shaping the bonding material to look like a natural tooth, the dentist uses an ultraviolet light to harden the material.
Dental Cap or Crown
If a large piece of tooth breaks off or the tooth has a lot of decay, the dentist may grind or file away part of the remaining tooth and cover it with a crown, or tooth-shaped cap, made to protect the tooth and improve its appearance. Permanent crowns materials are metal, porcelain fused to metal, all resin, or all ceramic. Different types have different benefits. All-metal crowns are the strongest. Porcelain and resin crowns can look nearly identical to the original tooth.
If the entire top of the tooth is broken off but the root is still intact, the dentist or an endodontist (a dentist who specializes in root canals) may perform root canal therapy and place a pin or a post in the canal, and then build up enough of a structure onto which make a crown. Later, the dentist can cement the crown over the pin or post-retained restoration.