Uh oh! You’ve bitten into almond at the wrong angle. You’ve tripped and hit the edge of the stair railing. You’ve been whacked with a shovel while working with a family member in the garden. Whatever the reason, a chipped tooth is the result of not being fully aware of your surroundings, not being careful when eating hard or rough food, allowing your teeth to decay to be more vulnerable to chipped – or a mixture of all three.
What is the best course of action immediately after you discover you’ve chipped a tooth, and how can your dentist help you?
What not to do
First of all, don’t attempt to use superglue or other non-approved binding agent to glue the chipped tooth back together. This could damage the remainder of the tooth a compromise the dentist’s ability to restore it later on. You should also not avoid the dentist after chipping a tooth – the sooner they can address it, the better your prognosis. Last, avoid eating any hard foods – especially the kind that chipped your tooth in the first place, if food was the culprit – and stick with soft, preferably low-sugar foods while you wait for your dental appointment.
What you should do
Now, here’s how you address a chipped tooth, starting with caring for what remains of the damaged tooth. If the remaining tooth portion has a sharp edge, rinse you mouth with salt water and then cover it with strong wax paper or sugar-free gum to protect the rest of your mouth. This shield should only be temporary, though – you should visit the dentist as soon as possible to treat the tooth. If there will be a long wait until you see the dentist, visit the pharmacy to purchase a dentist-approved temporary filling substance to cover the tooth. Otherwise, keep your mouth clean and rinse with salt water frequently to keep infection at bay while you wait to get into see the dentist.
Restoring your tooth
The dentist will be able to determine your best course of action for returning your chipped tooth to its original appearance (or, as close to its original appearance as possible). They may first use filling or other enamel-like substance to restore the tooth. The least invasive next step is to use a dental veneer – a thin tooth-colored hard substance – to return the tooth back to its original color and shine as possible. If there’s little of what remains of the original tooth, or the chipped-off site has a lot of decay, the dentist may take a stronger action and remove what’s left of the tooth to attach a crown. The crown is typically made to look like your original tooth and is attached to a post drilled into your tooth’s root. However, if what remains of the tooth is overly decayed or otherwise seriously damaged, you may need a root canal to kill off the remainder of the tooth.
Chipping a tooth can be embarrassing – as well as painful – but we’re here to guide you through the process of making your smile whole again. Call us at (847) 724-1771 today to set up an appointment; our flexible, extended hours will better help us help you no matter what time you happen to chip a tooth.