A chipped tooth can be caused by facial trauma, sporting injuries, or crunching on something hard like ice or candy. While a chipped tooth may seem harmless, it can develop into a more serious oral health issue if not addressed immediately. Here are just a few reasons why you should never ignore a chipped tooth.
It Could Damage Mouth’s Soft Tissue
Depending on the severity of the chip and the tooth’s location on the dental arch, a chipped tooth may damage the mouth’s soft tissue. If the chip has ragged edges, it may lacerate or irritate the tongue, cheeks, and gums. This can be painful, and the wounds could become infected or develop into ulcers.
It’s Vulnerable to Cavities
A chipped tooth is more vulnerable to enamel erosion which can cause tooth decay and cavities. If left untreated, a minor chip that is easy to fix with composite resin bonding or a small filling may require more extensive treatment. If tooth decay reaches the pulp chamber and infects the soft tissue inside, you may need root canal therapy to save the tooth.
It’s Weakened and May Break
Chips can lead to tooth crazing and fractures, which weaken the tooth’s structure and cause increased sensitivity to pressure. Pressure sensitivity can make it painful to bite and chew. It also means your tooth is more likely to break.
You’ll Experience Increased Tooth Sensitivity
Chips can expose the dentin layer underneath the tooth enamel. Dentin contains numerous microscopic tubules that lead to the pulp chamber. The pulp chamber houses all the blood vessels and nerve endings inside your tooth.
When you eat and drink hot, cold, or sugary substances with a chipped tooth, this nerve exposure can cause increased sensitivity and lead to a sensation colloquially called zingers. Zingers are sharp, intense pain sensations that come and go.
How to Treat a Chipped Tooth
There are several treatment options to restore chipped teeth, depending on the size and location of the chip.
- Composite bonding. Composite bonding uses a tooth-colored acrylic resin to repair the chip. After applying a chemical roughening agent, the composite is applied in thin layers and cured with a UV light after each layer. Your dentist then shapes and polishes the composite to blend with your natural teeth.
- Tooth fillings. If your tooth has become decayed due to a chip, you may need fillings. After opening the tooth to access the decayed tissue, the dentist cleans the cavity and fills it with a composite resin in layers, setting each layer with a UV light. Once the filling has hardened, your dentist asks you to bite down on articulating paper to check your alignment and make adjustments as necessary.
- Dental veneers. Dental veneers are an excellent option if you have a small chip that doesn’t expose the dentin and you want to cosmetically improve your smile. Veneers are thin shells, typically made from porcelain, cemented to the front of your tooth. Your dentist shaves off a small amount of enamel, then takes impressions to send to a lab where they custom-make your veneer.
- Dental crowns. Your dentist may recommend dental crowns if the chip or decay has significantly weakened your tooth. A dental crown is a tooth-colored cap that fits over the whole tooth to restore its strength and structure.
Partner With TruBlu Dentistry to Restore Your Smile
To preserve your smile and prevent unnecessary discomfort, visit TruBlu Dentistry to repair your chipped tooth, restore your smile and renew your confidence.