A chip off the old tooth: Causes and fixes

broken tooth

A chipped tooth is an easy way to ruin an otherwise good day. Chipped teeth are incredibly common and can be caused by everything from biting down too hard on food to falling or even cavities. You may not notice you’ve chipped a tooth until someone awkwardly points out your smile, but don’t worry! Chipped teeth are often easily and painlessly treatable.

First things first

While a chipped tooth might not be a medical emergency, it does require a dental visit as soon as possible. Neglecting to repair chipped teeth risks further damage and infection, and may result in you losing the entire tooth in the process. While you’re waiting to see the dentist, there are few things you can do in the meantime. If you’re feeling any pain, feel free to take an over-the-counter pain reliever and stick to soft foods. Depending on the severity of your injury, the application of an ice pack could help with swelling, and you may want to use gauze to help stop any bleeding that might occur.

At the dentist

When you arrive for your dental appointment, your dentist will determine the severity of the damage. If you’re lucky, you’ve only lost a bit of enamel. This can be easily repaired with a simple filling, or even by smoothing out the chipped area if it is small enough. More serious breaks may require a crown to be placed over the damaged tooth, or even removal in some cases. A broken tooth will often bleed and be much more painful due to exposed nerves than a relatively painless chip in your tooth enamel. Fortunately, most chipped teeth are less serious and can easily be repaired through bonding or smoothing out the damaged area.

Taking care of your tooth

In most cases, treatment for your chipped tooth will only involve a single visit to the dentist. If you want to keep it this way, be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions to the letter. This advice will likely include, but not be limited to:

  • Avoid chewing hard candy, foods or ice with the repaired tooth. (Chewing ice is always a bad idea, chipped tooth or not!)
  • Be extra careful when eating during the first few days after your repair. Eat soft foods and soup if possible.
  • Avoid whitening toothpastes as they may be abrasive and hold back the repair process.
  • When flossing, remove the floss horizontally instead of vertically to avoid dislodging any bonding.
  • Have regular dental checkups to ensure your overall dental health.

A chipped tooth, while annoying in itself, can damage your confidence and self-image, not to mention make for an embarrassing first impression. Thankfully, fixing chipped teeth is often a straightforward and simple process. A quick visit to your dentist will have you and your smile looking your best in no time.