A CHIP OFF THE OLD TOOTH
Ripping open a package with your teeth, playing sports, and eating ribs are all normal activities. However, these can all lead to a chipped tooth. A chipped tooth may or may not lead to pain, but it does need to be treated. If you or your child chip a tooth, contact a board-certified dentist in Austin, TX for treatment. At Meadows Dental Care, our skilled team will perform a comprehensive dental exam to assess the damage from a chipped tooth and then, we offer a custom treatment plan to restore your smile. Read on to learn about the most common ways people chip their teeth, what you should do if you or a family member chips a tooth, how your dentist can fix a chipped tooth, and ways to avoid chipped teeth.
HOW YOU CAN CHIP A TOOTH
There's plenty of ways that you can chip a tooth, but some of the most common are chewing ice, playing sports without a mouth guard, and falling on a hard surface.
No matter how careful you are, there will always be unforeseen accidents. Tripping and falling could lead to a chipped tooth. Car accidents may also leave you with a chip or two.
- SPORTS INJURIES
Both contact and non-contact sports present the opportunity for dental problems, including chipped teeth. If you or your child are not wearing a high-quality mouth guard during any physical activity, you're at greater risk for damaging your smile.
- EATING HARD FOODS
Chewing on hard foods is a common way to chip a tooth. This includes hard candy, ice, and bone-in meats (ribs, chicken wings). While corn on the cob may seem soft, gnawing on the cob is a common way to chip a tooth.
- USING YOUR TEETH AS A TOOL
Your teeth's main purpose is to chew food, so an easy way to chip a tooth is to use your teeth for some other reason. This may include using your teeth to tear open packages, pull something apart, or anything else that should be done with a tool, not your teeth.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU CHIP A TOOTH
After you or someone in your family chips a tooth, contact your dentist in Austin, TX to schedule an appointment. Unless you are in pain, you probably don't need emergency care and can wait a few days to get treatment. While you wait, be sure to keep your teeth clean with twice daily brushing and flossing. Be sure to remove any debris that may get caught in the jagged edge of the chip. You may also want to use an antibacterial mouthwash to avoid an infection getting into the dental pulp. If you have any discomfort or swelling, take an over-the-counter pain reliever and apply a cold compress to your mouth. Even if you don't have any pain and you don't mind having a chipped tooth, you still need to schedule an appointment with a dentist. A chipped tooth can weaken your enamel and leave you at greater risk for cavities or an infection. Treatment options for a chipped tooth are usually quick and easy, but an untreated chip can lead to serious pain and longer procedures, like a root canal.
TREATMENTS FOR A CHIPPED TOOTH
To choose the best treatment for you, your dentist will perform a thorough dental exam. They may need digital x-rays to check the extent of the damage so they can recommend the correct treatment. Depending on the size and severity of your chip, your dentist may recommend bonding, veneers, or a crown.
- DENTAL CROWN
A dental crown may be recommended if you chipped off a larger portion of your tooth. A dental crown is custom made to fit over the entire tooth, which offers more strength and protection compared to other treatment options for a chipped tooth. Depending on the location of the chipped tooth, you may want a crown that's made of porcelain, metal, or porcelain over metal.
- DENTAL BONDING
To repair small chips and seal the tooth, dental bonding may be recommended. Using the same composite resin used in tooth-colored fillings, a dentist applies the dental bonding material to the tooth to fill in the chip. Once the composite resin is hardened with a light, the tooth can be polished for a smooth, natural-looking finish.
- PORCELAIN VENEERS
If a chip is not a dental problem, but you don't like the way it makes your smile look uneven, you may consider porcelain veneers. Thin covers that are bonded to the front of your visible teeth, cosmetic veneers are custom made to make your smile look natural, but more attractive. With proper care, veneers typically last longer than bonding, so you may consider this if you're tired of having your bonding re-done.
PREVENTING FUTURE CHIPS
While you can't avoid accidents in everyday life, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of chipping a tooth. Make sure you're not using your teeth as a tool. Taking the time to grab a pair of scissors can end up saving you a lot of trouble when you don't chip your tooth opening a package. Avoid chewing hard candy and ice. Cut meat off the bone and corn from the cob before you eat it. Keep your teeth strong by brushing and flossing every day. You should also continue to schedule appointments at your dentist in Austin, TX for oral health exams and professional cleanings. Addressing any developing issues, like cavities, will help keep your enamel strong. If you or your child plays any sports, ask your dentist about an athletic mouth guard. At Meadows Dental Care, we offer custom mouth guards made out of high-quality materials to comfortably protect your teeth and gums during athletic activities.
TREAT YOUR CHIPPED TOOTH SOONER RATHER THAN LATER
If you or your child have chipped a tooth, please contact your dentist in Austin, TX to schedule an appointment. At Meadows Dental Care, we can help restore your chipped smile with dental bonding, porcelain veneers, or a dental crown. No matter which option you choose, we'll customize your treatment plan to fit your needs and goals.