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What should I do if I’ve chipped a tooth?

Many people don’t realize this, but the strongest tissue in your body is the enamel that covers your teeth. Despite its strength, this enamel can still be chipped or broken under specific circumstances. Chipped teeth often occur if a person suffers a serious blow to the face, slips, trips or falls, or bites down on an extremely hard food item. Food and drink can also damage your teeth, so it is wise to avoid eating hard candy, chewing ice, or drinking soda or sports drinks. Cavities and other forms of tooth decay can also weaken teeth, so make sure to brush regularly and visit the dentist for routine cleanings to keep the enamel healthy and strong.

If you have accidentally chipped a tooth, it is an inconvenient but completely common occurrence. It’s important not to panic, and contact your dentist immediately. There are many things that your dentist can do to fix it. Visiting the dentist as soon as possible is the best course of action for you and your teeth, and you can prevent further problems and issues by having it looked at right away.

Before you visit your dentist, you can mitigate the pain and protect the tooth by doing the following:

  • If your mouth or the tooth is throbbing or painful, take an over the counter pain reliever like acetaminophen.
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water.
  • If the tooth is jagged or sharp, cover the tooth with a bit of wax or sugarless chewing gum. It should protect your tongue and cheeks from being cut or scraped.
  • If you must eat, try only eating soft foods. Cold and hot foods might be too painful, so try for room temperature.

Your dentist will repair your tooth depending on how and where it is damaged. If a small part of enamel is broken or chipped, the issue is usually fixable in one office visit. It is treated more like a filling. Your smile can be corrected with a color-matching bonding that is designed to look like a natural tooth. You will likely never be able to tell where the chip was! A veneer can also be placed over the tooth and reshaped to match the broken section. Your smile should look just like new by the end of the appointment!

If it is seriously broken or if the tooth has decay or serious damage, then it might require more extensive work. First, the dentist will determine what kind of cap or crown should be used. Then your tooth will be prepped for its cover, whether it is made from porcelain, metal, or resin. Different crown types have different benefits. First, you need an impression and you get a temporary crown. You return to have your permanent crown cemented into place. Some new techniques are done right in the office with 3-D printed crown or milling machines that make your crown.

The dental experts at Dental Expressions will be happy to assess your broken or chipped tooth. We will try to get you an appointment right away to prevent further damage or infection. Call us at 718-395-5331 or schedule an appointment with us online. We will make you smile!

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