Chipped teeth are at best a nuisance and at worst a major source of pain.
The bad news? There are no DIY treatments to fix a chipped tooth. The good news? Your dentist can fix it.
What causes a chipped tooth?
Any number of incidents can cause a tooth to chip.
- High impact to the face or mouth, such as a fall
- Inadvertently biting down on a hard food such as candy
- Grinding your teeth at night (also known as bruxism)
- Tooth decay (especially the wearing down of enamel)
Can I go without treating a chipped tooth?
In theory you can go without treating a chipped tooth…but you risk serious side effects if you do.
- Infection can develop in the tooth, risking damage to the nerve or even an abscess tooth.
- The nerve of the tooth can become exposed, leaving you much more vulnerable to pain caused by pressure and temperature.
- The tooth can break. Remember, a chipped tooth is just a fracture. A broken tooth is much more painful and much harder to fix.
Can I treat a chipped tooth myself?
You can’t fix a chipped tooth yourself–only a dentist has the expertise to do that. But there are some things you can do to treat it yourself in the short-term before you can get to the dentist’s office.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water to prevent infection
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to treat the pain.
- If your tooth now has a sharp edge, cover it with a paraffin wax (part of an emergency dental kit, available at most drugstores) or sugarless chewing gum to prevent cutting your tongue or cheek.
- Eat softer foods and avoid biting down with the tooth wherever possible. Avoid more acidic foods.
How can a dentist treat a chipped tooth?
Dentists can perform a variety of procedures to fix a chipped tooth, depending on the severity of the chip.
- Filling or bonding → Fillings are called for if the enamel is chipped off a back tooth. Bonding–the process of gluing a composite resin to the tooth–occurs when the damage occurs to a front tooth.
- Dental veneers → Veneers are thin shells typically made from porcelain that are custom-made in a lab based on the shape of your specific teeth. They’re applied using a special cement on the surface of your existing teeth.
- Dental cap or crown → If you’ve chipped a significant portion of the tooth, your dentist may cap it with a crown as a more robust way to preserve the tooth and its appearance.
- Root canal therapy → If the break is large enough to expose and infect the tooth’s pulp–its center containing nerves and blood vessels–your dentist will recommend a root canal to remove the dead pulp, clean the tooth and then seal it.
How much can it cost to fix a chipped tooth?
The cost of fixing a chipped tooth depends on which dental procedure you receive.
- Metal fillings can range from $50-500 without insurance. Gold fillings can be $2,000+
- Veneers can range from $250-2,00 per tooth without insurance.
- Caps or crowns can range from $300-3,000 without insurance–depending on the type of tooth and type of crown.
- Root canals can range from $500-1,800 without insurance.
If you’ve chipped your tooth, the best thing you can do is make an appointment with your dentist. At Plancich Dental we’ll fix your chipped tooth, along with any other of your dental needs.