Chipping or cracking a tooth is a terrifying thing to think about. However, if you can be prepared, it might not turn out to be the nightmare you expected. Fortunately, Dr. Oreoluwa Adegun of League City Elite Dentistry can explain how to handle a chipped or cracked tooth and avoid dental distress.
First, it is important to identify if you have a cracked or chipped tooth. While it’s pretty easy to notice a broken tooth at the front of your mouth, here are some other symptoms you should be on the lookout for, especially for those teeth you can’t easily see:
- Sudden sensitivity to cold foods or drinks
- An irritated tongue from rubbing against a tooth’s jagged surface
- Pain when biting or putting pressure on the tooth
- An irritated gum line around one tooth
- Feeling a rough, uneven, or jagged edge on the surface of the tooth when you run your tongue over it
If a cracked or chipped tooth occurs, the most important thing is to take action. Call our office immediately and try to schedule an appointment. Additionally, if a piece of your natural tooth is missing, try to keep it safe in saliva or even milk to bring to the dentist. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers and eat soft foods to keep discomfort at bay in the meantime.
- Reattachment – In some cases, the dentist can cement the missing piece back onto the chipped or cracked tooth.
- Reshaping – If you have a small tooth chip, this issue can potentially be corrected by simply reshaping the tooth (by smoothing and polishing the affected area).
- Filling – If you have a more significantly sized problem, they will simply fill in the hole or crack left if the tooth is unable to be reattached.
- Bonding – This is when the crack is filled in using composite resin (which is matched to the individual’s tooth color). This bonding material will be shaped to imitate your natural tooth.
- Veneers – This may be a good option for those larger chips or cracks that affect the front teeth. They will take an impression of your tooth and then affix a veneer that imitates the shape of your natural tooth on top of what is left of your current tooth.
- Onlay – These are used on molars that have lost a lot of teeth or have a fairly major crack. These are typically made of either porcelain or dental gold.
- Crown/Cap – This is recommended when a larger portion of the tooth breaks off. The crown will be fitted to the top of the tooth to cover the missing enamel.
- Root Canal – This may be a good option if there is confirmation that the damage has reached the pulp or root of your tooth. This is a more invasive procedure that keeps you from losing your tooth and is accompanied by a crown.
- Extraction & Implant – If your cracked or chipped tooth is beyond repair, you may have to have your tooth extracted and a dental implant will replace the cracked or chipped tooth.
- Tooth Splint – If your tooth is cracked, not chipped, a tooth splint may be possible. The damaged tooth can be bonded to an adjacent healthy tooth and allows the surrounding bones and gums to recover.
Be sure to consult Dr. Adegun about which treatment is best for you, and they will help get you fixed up!