Chipped Front Tooth Treatment Guide
Although the tough outer covering of the tooth, known as enamel, is the strongest mineral in your body, it is prone to damage. This is especially true if you get a forceful blow to your face or experience excessive wear and tear. Chipped or broken teeth may result in a jagged tooth surface that is sharp, disfigured or just tender. Fortunately, there are many ways of correcting a chipped, cracked or broken tooth. In this article, we are going to look into the common causes of teeth chipping and the available chipped front tooth treatment options.
Common causes of chipped teeth
Various factors can lead to chipped teeth, including;
- Cavities: Tooth cavities and decay weaken your teeth by eating away at its enamel, causing it to crack or break.
- Bad bite: Biting into hard objects like ice and hard candy may cause your teeth to break.
- Trauma: Trauma to the face from an accident, or playing sports without a mouth guard can cause your front teeth to break.
Other potential causes include:
- Poor nutrition: Sugary and high acid-producing foods like coffee, fruit juices, and spicy foods can break down your tooth enamel causing it to break.
- Ageing: Our teeth also wear down naturally as we age. By the time you are 50 years or older, your chances of having a weakened enamel increases.
- Grinding or clenching your teeth (bruxism): Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, wears down your enamel, causing your teeth to break.
Type of damage
Small to moderate chips
These are small chips at the edge of your tooth that can be fixed by smoothing and polishing.
This is when a substantial part of a tooth is chipped off.
This is a serious condition that can be painful and requires immediate treatment.
What Your Dentist Will Do
Your dentist may smooth and polish the chipped area to eliminate rough edges. No further treatment is required.
Your dentist will place a filling or crown over the cracked tooth to restore its normal appearance and function.
Just like a minor crack, your dentist may need to smooth out its edges and polish it for aesthetics. Depending on the extent of the chip, it may need to be built up in a composite filling material.
Cusps are the pointed parts of a tooth and usually surround a filling. When they chip they very often do not affect the pulp. hence, your dentist may place a crown or filling over the damaged cusp, depending on the extent of the damage.
For a severe break that exposes your tooth nerves, your dentist will perform a root canal to remove the damaged nerves and place a crown or cap to replace the broken tooth.
If your cracked front tooth has split vertically, the dentist will need to extract and replace the tooth. If the split occurs on your molars, your dentist may be able to salvage one of the two roots of the molars and use it to install a crown.
Vertical breaks or split root
Other times, the crack can start in the tooth root. Such a crack can be painful and may cause infection and inflammation at the root. This leaves extraction as the only treatment option.
Your dentist will start by evaluating the tooth to determine the extent of the decay. If it goes down to the bone, the tooth may have to be replaced.
Cracked Front Tooth: What You Can Do
This is a simple dental procedure that does not usually require tooth numbing and uses tooth-coloured resin. The dentist starts by etching the dented area of the tooth to roughen it so that the bonding material can adhere to it. They then apply an adhesive material followed by the coloured resin. After that, they shape the resin to make it look like your natural teeth before hardening it with ultraviolet light.
This treatment is recommended for those who have broken a large chunk of their tooth or if it is has a significant amount of decay. In such a case, your dentist will file or grind away part of the remaining tooth and conceal it with a cap or a dental crown.
If almost all your tooth has broken off, root canal treatment would need to be performed. A post would need to be placed in the canal to build up enough structure to support the crown. If infection is present, root canal treatment would require more than one visit. later on, usually a few weeks later, the dentist will then fit your crown.
Dental veneers can be placed over a front tooth that is chipped, cracked or broken to restore its original look. These veneers are made out of a thin tooth-coloured shell made from resin composite or porcelain material that covers the entire front part of the tooth.
If the crack on your tooth goes too far beyond the gum line, the tooth cannot be salvaged. The only treatment alternative is to have it extracted. Your dentist may place an dental implant in your jaw bone to replace the missing tooth and a crown would be fitted on top. A fixed bridge or removable denture may also be an option.
Repairing a Chipped, split or Broken Tooth: What to Expect?
Once you realise you have a chipped, cracked or broken tooth, we highly recommend that you visit your dentist immediately to prevent further damage. Depending on the cause, a broken or chipped tooth may become prone to infections, and further damage that may cause you to lose it.
How to Care for a Fractured, Chipped or Broken Tooth
Before seeing the dentist, there are a few self-care measures that you can take;
- If you are experiencing pain, rinse your mouth with warm salt water and take an over the counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- If the broken tooth leaves a jagged or sharp edge, cover it with gum preferably- or wax paraffin (orthodontic wax). This will help in inhibiting it from grazing or cutting your gum or the inside of your cheek or lip.
- Eat soft foods, but avoid biting down on the chipped tooth.
- Apply clove oil around the painful gum to help reduce the inflammation.
- If you grind your teeth, wear a protective mouth guard at night.
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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.
Dr Joseph Xuereb
Dental & Implant Surgeon. Principal
Savina Dental Clinics