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How Can a Dentist Fix a Chipped Tooth?

Tooth enamel may be some of the toughest tissue in the body, but it can also be brittle. It’s common for teeth to chip after biting down on something that’s too hard or receiving an impact injury to the face, especially if the tooth was already weakened due to cavities or a teeth grinding habit. 

It will normally be obvious right away when you’ve chipped a tooth. Depending on the position of the tooth in your mouth, the missing part may be immediately visible, or you may be able to feel the jagged edge with your tongue. You may also experience sensitivity and pain.

Even if it’s a minor chip that isn’t painful, it can affect the appearance of your smile and your self-confidence, as well as your bite. The good news is that there’s a range of dental treatments for fixing chipped teeth, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get a chipped tooth repaired.

The treatment type, duration, and cost of repairing a chipped tooth will depend on the specific injury and severity of the damage. Read on to learn about the most common fixes for chipped teeth.

Dental bonding

If there is a small chip to a tooth towards the back of your mouth, then a filling may be the simplest option. However, if a tooth towards the front of your mouth has chipped, and the damage is visible when you smile, then the best solution could be dental bonding.

Sometimes known as a composite filling, it’s a non-invasive procedure that can be completed in one appointment. Bonding involves applying a tooth-coloured resin to replace the missing piece – since the shade is matched to your teeth, it will blend in and look natural. 

Your dentist will etch the surface of the affected tooth with a chemical liquid or gel that will make it rough enough for the bonding material to adhere securely. They will then apply a putty-like resin composite to the tooth and use specialist instruments to mould it into the right shape.

Once this is done, the material is cured with light to harden it and fully bond the resin to the tooth. You dentist can then polish the tooth to make the surface as smooth and shiny as your surrounding teeth. The whole process is quick and cost-effective.

Dental veneers

If you have a chip in one of your front teeth that’s a little bigger, then a veneer could be the easiest way to restore the appearance of your tooth and protect it from further damage. A veneer is a thin shell of porcelain or composite material adhered to the front surface of your tooth – a bit like a false nail over a fingernail, but more permanent and durable.

To prepare the chipped tooth for the veneer, your dentist will have to remove up to a millimetre of the outer enamel. This is to make sure that the veneer will sit flush with the teeth on either side, rather than being too bulky, and to roughen the surface a little so that the adhesive can attach the veneer to the tooth more securely.

Once this is done, your dentist will take an impression or mould of the tooth so that a high-quality permanent veneer can be created for you in a dental lab. They will apply a temporary veneer in the meantime, then you can return in a week or two to have the final veneer cemented to your tooth using a similar light-activated curing process as composite bonding.

Veneers are typically a longer-lasting solution than dental bonding. This also means the treatment will cost more, but it’s still an affordable investment for repairing one tooth.

Dental crowns

For medium to large chips that have compromised up to 50% or more of your tooth, it’s likely that you’ll need a dental crown, as bonding or veneers won’t be as effective. A crown is a hard cap that covers the exposed parts of the tooth to protect the inside, allowing you to eat without pain.

Crowns can be made from metal, porcelain, ceramic, resin, or a mix of these materials to form a natural-looking tooth. Having a dental crown fitted normally requires two visits to the dentist.

During the first appointment, your dentist will numb the affected area, then remove part of the damaged tooth to create enough space for the crown. If there is already a significant piece missing, they may need to use filling materials to reshape the tooth.

As with veneers, your dentist will take an impression of the prepared tooth to send to a dental lab, where a custom crown will be moulded to fit your tooth perfectly. They should fit a temporary crown to cover the tooth until your second visit.

At the second appointment, which may be around 2 weeks later, your dentist will remove the first crown and test the fit of your permanent crown before bonding it to the remaining tooth structure. Once it’s firmly cemented into position, the crown should last for a decade or more.

Some dental practices have access to special digital modelling technology that allows them to create a permanent crown on the same day without making a physical mould with putty, so it’s possible to have a dental crown completely fitted in just one appointment. R&H DENTAL should be first priority for any dental issues as they have a highly qualified team that provides exceptional care and uses the latest technology to ensure you receive the best experience.

When to see a dentist about a chipped tooth

If you damage your tooth, the best course of action is to contact your dentist as soon as possible. They can advise you on whether the problem is serious enough to require emergency treatment, or schedule you in for the closest available appointment.

Your dentist can assess the extent of the damage and discuss the most appropriate treatment option for your situation. The sooner your chipped tooth is evaluated and treatment is recommended, the sooner you can have your functional smile back.

Though it can be tempting to just leave a chipped tooth as it is, especially if you don’t feel any pain and it isn’t too visible, it’s essential to see a dentist to make sure that it doesn’t develop into something worse. Damaged teeth can also be cracked, and cracks can increase until more serious breakage occurs. If a large enough portion of the tooth breaks off, you may have to undergo root canal treatment to allow a crown to be fitted and avoid losing the entire tooth.

Speaking to your dentist about your chipped tooth right away will save you pain, time, and money, as the longer you leave it, the more complex the treatment required to repair the damage may be. If you aren’t registered with an NHS dentist, it can help to register with a private dentist to ensure swift access to important treatments like these.

If you’re looking for a reliable dentist in Warrington who can provide fillings, crowns, veneers, composite bonding, and more, then Dental Solutions could be the answer to your chipped tooth troubles.

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