Cracked Or Chipped Tooth Restoration Is Possible
Has it recently happened to you? It happens to many people. Whether from eating hard foods like candy or ice or because of past damage, you hear a snap or notice a piece of tooth loose in your mouth. That means you have a cracked or chipped tooth. It may help to know that you’re not alone, but perhaps it helps more to know that a cracked, chipped or broken tooth can be repaired or restored in many cases.
And there are things you can do in the meantime that will ease any pain you may be feeling and help you deal with any inconvenience until you can see our San Diego dentist.
Your cracked tooth or chipped tooth may be because of a fall that results in facial trauma or perhaps a car accident, a sports injury or many other causes. Remember that any time you have serious trauma to the face, head or neck, your first call needs to be a doctor and your first stop at an emergency room. Dental issues always take a back seat to other kinds of head, brain or neck trauma. If you have bleeding from your ear, memory problems or any dizziness, headache or disorientation, you need to visit an ER right away.
In many cases, the hospital will have an oral surgeon on staff to deal with dental emergencies. This professional can handle a broken jaw, extract a tooth or even restore the dental arch before sending you to your regular San Diego dentist for follow-up treatment and complete restoration.
Cold can help with dental and oral swelling and pain, so consider using an ice cube, ice pack or cold compress after trauma. While tooth enamel is the body’s hardest material, it isn’t indestructible. Damaged teeth are the most likely to experience additional damage, but most problems can be repaired or restored in some way. So there’s no need to panic if you experience a cracked tooth, broken tooth or chipped tooth.
Cracked Or Chipped Tooth Care At Home
You can take these measures at home to ease pain or discomfort while waiting for dental treatment of your damaged tooth:
- Take an OTC pain reliever, perhaps Tylenol, to ease any pain.
- Use a salt water rinse to reduce any pain and prevent harmful infection.
- Cover sharp edges with paraffin or sugarless gum to prevent damage to the tongue or cheek.
- Avoid biting as much as possible by eating only soft foods like smoothies or mashed potatoes.
Treatment Of A Cracked Or Chipped Tooth
A number of treatment choices are available for damaged teeth at your San Diego dentist. The right treatment depends on the type of damage and how bad it is. In some cases, a complete repair is possible in a single dental visit. Some repairs may take several visits for complete restoration.
Treatment options may include:
Filling or bonding. When tooth enamel is damaged, a filling may be all you need to solve the problem. When this will be in a highly visible location like on a front tooth, dental bonding may be a more visually appealing solution. Often done without numbing, bonding is the adhering of a tooth-colored resin to the tooth to repair damage. Once applied and shaped, bonding material looks just like natural enamel. And since it’s hardened using a special light, the tooth can be used normally almost immediately.
Cap or crown. When a piece breaks from a tooth, the dentist will often choose to grind away some of the remaining tooth and put a cap or crown on what remains. The result is something to cover and protect the damaged tooth that looks just like a natural tooth. Crowns can be fashioned of metal, metal coated with porcelain, ceramic or special resins. Each type of crown has unique benefits that your San Diego dentist can discuss with you. Crowns with metal in them are the strongest in most cases and applications. When much of the tooth is missing, a pin may be inserted so the dentist can build up structure on which to place the cap.
Enamel shaping or sculpting. Dental shaping or sculpting is the simplest fix for a chipped or damaged tooth when possible. It is often used along with dental bonding when new material must be added to the tooth. With shaping, material is simply ground away and what remains is contoured to the best function and appearance. For small imperfections, this is often the best approach.
Veneers. Wafer-like thin pieces of porcelain are adhered to the front part of teeth when veneers are used to repair dental imperfections or damaged teeth. In addition to covering some imperfections, veneers can also cover repair work when it doesn’t look good enough on its own.
Protect Yourself From Chipped Teeth and Broken Teeth
Take these steps to prevent broken teeth, chipped teeth and other dental damage:
- Wear a mouth guard when playing any kind of sports.
- Use a night guard if you have a grinding problem or TMD.
- Avoid eating sticky or hard foods or chewing on pencils and other non-food items.
- Don’t use your teeth to open or pry anything.
When you use care, you may be able to prevent a costly and inconvenient dental repair. But don’t worry. If you damage a tooth, Brighton Dental can help. For every dental problem, there’s a sensible solution that will meet your needs and restore beauty as well as function.
Call (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation