Chipped teeth are common and most of us will get one, or a few, in our lifetime. With today’s dental technology there are more options for repair of chipped teeth. Here are some solutions for chipped teeth that will help restore your smile and confidence.
Defining Chipped Teeth
There are many forms of damage that can occur to a tooth surface including cracks, chips, abrasions and pieces broken off. We’ll define a “chip” as a small fragment of tooth that breaks off, without exposing gum or roots. When the gums or tooth roots are exposed in a broken tooth, this can lead to serious infections and periodontal disease.
Chipped teeth, while most often a cosmetic issue, can be painful if a jagged spot rubs against the lips, cheek or tongue. Then it is definitely time to contact the dentist.
Why Teeth Chip
The enamel on our teeth is very strong, but excess force can damage it. Biting hard bread, candy or ice, using teeth to open packages, and grinding teeth at night are common causes of chipping. Accidents, fights or impact while playing sports can also chip teeth.
As we age, our enamel weakens and we become more prone to chipping. We have had more years of eating acidic foods such as alcohol, juice or coffee which wear at the enamel. Acid reflux can have the same impact. Once enamel wears away, the tooth surface has little defense against damage.
Treatment Options for Chipped Teeth
The treatment recommended by your dentist will depend on the location of the tooth in your mouth and the severity of the damage.
- Smooth the damage. If the chip is small with no pain or risk of further oral health impacts, the dentist can often shave down the tooth so there are no sharp edges.
- Reattach the broken piece. If you preserve the broken piece of tooth the dentist may be able to reattach it and bond it back onto your original tooth.
- Bonding and reshaping. The dentist will use a composite resin or porcelain attached to the surface of the tooth and will custom shape it to fit with your teeth.
- Porcelain veneers or onlays. A veneer is a porcelain tooth-shaped cover. The dentist makes a mold of your tooth, and a new tooth surface is created. It is then attached to the base of the old tooth. Veneers can cover a whole tooth or just a part.
If you have chipped or broken teeth and want to improve your smile or alleviate risk of future oral health issues, give us a call. We can assess your individual situation, and provide a custom treatment plan to restore teeth.