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As you bite into an unexpectedly hard morsel or – for adrenaline junkies– experience a blunt-force trauma to the mouth, you may find yourself face-to-face with an unfortunate dental reality: a chipped tooth. It’s a fairly common mishap, and the experience can be surprisingly unnerving. However, the good news is that repairing a chipped tooth is a routine dental procedure, and with modern dental practices, it’s often a quick fix. This blog will dive into the steps you need to take in the event of a dental chip emergency.
Severity of the Chip
Not all tooth chips are created equal. Some may be mere superficial enamel abrasions, while others can result in more substantial structural damage. Assessing the severity of the chip will dictate your next steps. If the chip is minor and doesn’t involve the sensitive inner layers of the tooth, it may not require immediate attention. However, any chip that results in pain, sensitivity, or a jagged edge should prompt a visit to the dentist.
When you first chip your tooth, it’s important to take immediate action to alleviate discomfort and prevent further damage. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and apply pressure if there is bleeding. If you’re unable to see a dentist right away, covering the chipped area with orthodontic wax or sugarless gum can prevent sharp edges from cutting your tongue or cheeks.
Professional Repair Options
When you arrive at a cosmetic dental clinic, the professional will evaluate the damage and discuss your repair options. For small chips, cosmetic treatments like bonding, where a tooth-colored resin is applied and hardened with a special light, can often be completed in just one visit. More extensive chips may require a dental crown, a cap that covers the entire tooth, to restore its shape, appearance, and function. In rare cases of severe damage affecting the tooth’s nerve, a root canal treatment may be necessary before the tooth is repaired.
Recovery and Aftercare
After the repair, it’s essential to practice good oral hygiene to prevent future chipping and maintain your newly restored tooth. This means brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and avoiding habits that can weaken the teeth, such as chewing on ice or hard candies. Your dentist may also recommend a nightguard if you grind your teeth while you sleep, which can otherwise put significant pressure on dental work.
The best way to deal with a chipped tooth is to avoid it in the first place. This involves a blend of protective measures, such as wearing a mouth guard during physical activities, and a healthy diet that’s gentle on your teeth. Additionally, regular dental check-ups can catch signs of wear and weaknesses in your teeth before they become a problem.
A chipped tooth can be distressing, but prompt professional care ensures that it can be swiftly repaired. By attending to the issue expediently and following the prescribed aftercare, you can maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. So remember, should you find yourself with a jagged smile, take a breath and follow these steps to repair the damage with poise and prudence. Your teeth will thank you.
About the Author
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.