A tooth is said to be chipped when a minor tooth fracture occurs, chipping away a slight portion of the enamel. However, the tooth does not get displaced nor is there any bleeding in the gums. Accidents are the leading cause of chipped teeth. Besides accidents, people who are more vulnerable to this condition are those engaged in sport activities, etc. People wearing tongue studs are also more prone to be affected by chipped tooth conditions even though they fail to realize this. Moreover, folks often munching on very hard foods or objects are also at the risk of chipping their tooth. Severe cases of tooth cavities can also conduce to broken tooth conditions.
Symptoms of Chipped Tooth
The edges of the tooth may seem to become rough or sharp. This will thus irritate the tongue and cheek. Minor chipped tooth cases will not be accompanied by any pain, however, if a fairly large piece of the tooth breaks off, the inner nerve or blood vessels may also encounter damage, thereby leading to severe pain. The size, shape and intensity of pain felt due to a chipped tooth, will vary depending on the type of trauma the tooth encounters.
Temporary Repair at Home
The moment you realize you have a chipped tooth, consult the dentist immediately. However, if it's not possible to get an appointment with the dentist right away, then quickly yet calmly inspect the chipped tooth. If the tooth has been chipped slightly, then the rough edge can be easily smoothened out at the dentist's clinic. However, if the chip is a large piece, pick it up gently and place it in a solution of milk or saliva. The aim is to not allow the chipped off portion of the tooth from drying out till the dentist can place it back to its position. There's not much of repair work that you can do at home, than to preserve the chipped piece and take it safely to the dentist at the earliest. Moreover, avoid eating anything solid, especially hard so as to avoid further damage. In case of bleeding place a tea bag on the bleeding area to cease loss of blood. Take a pain killer if the pain is unbearable.
Chipped Tooth Repair
The dentist will first assess the extent of damage by sending you for an x-ray. This is to assess the amount of internal damage. Depending on the type and location of damage, the dentist will carry out the following procedure.
The outer layer of the teeth is called enamel. When a person chips off a bit of enamel, no pain is experienced. In cases of such minimal damage, the dentist will file your teeth to smoothen the rough edges. He will then fill the edges with tooth colored filling to complete the look.
If an incisor has been chipped, the dentist may opt for porcelain veneers. Veneers are nothing but thin, delicate shell-like structures bearing semblance to the tooth. The dentist will take an impression of the tooth, and a veneer is prepared in the laboratory. Then, it is made to fit on the tooth and cover the whole front surface of the tooth. The chipped portion of the tooth will correspond to a thicker portion on the veneer to maintain uniformity.
Dental bonding or bonding is the most common dental treatment administered. In this treatment the dentist fits the broken chip back onto the chipped area with tooth-colored composite resin material which matches one's tooth color and shape. This filling will be cured and hardened with high intensity light and will conduce to a tooth with no dental aberrations. To correct small surface flaws on the teeth, the process of enamel shaping can be used.
Crowns are nothing but caps that fit over the teeth and cover it. In cases where the damage is extensive, the dentist will file away unwanted portions of the remaining tooth. The crown is made of the same shade as one's tooth and placed over the chipped tooth. This way the chipped portion is concealed and the remaining portion of the tooth is protected from further damage. Metal, porcelain and resin crowns are available in the market today.
Root Canal Treatment
Damage to the innermost pulp region of the tooth can result in nerves getting exposed. This kind of extensive damage has to be repaired via a root canal treatment. In this procedure, the dentist will remove the damaged pulp and then place a crown to protect the tooth.
Often people ignore minor cracks and wait for some pain to bother them, before they drag themselves to the dentist's clinic. However, this should not be the case. Neglect can result in further damage of the tooth structure. The chipped tooth may look small, however, it can deteriorate the tooth condition by exposing the nerves and before you know it, you would have lost your entire tooth. The saying 'a stitch in time saves nine' is applicable here! Hope this article helped!
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.