Have you ever been enjoying a meal when all of the sudden there is something small and sharp in your mouth? A chipped tooth can happen even if you’re not biting down on something hard. If the tooth already has some decay, then a chip or break may be more likely to occur. Don’t panic. A dentist in Washington has a few simple restorative options that can take care of that tooth pretty quickly.
Caring for Your Damaged Tooth
If you have a tooth that is broken, chipped or fractured, it is best to see the dentist as soon as possible. Delay could lead to further damage or infection, which might eventually necessitate extraction.
Does the tooth hurt? Try rinsing your mouth with salt water and take an over-the-counter pain reliever. If the break or chip has left the tooth with a sharp edge, you can cover it with dental wax or sugarless gum to protect soft tissue. When you eat, stick to soft foods and try not to bite down on the damaged tooth.
How Can the Dentist Repair a Chipped or Broken Tooth?
Treatment will depend on how severely the tooth is damaged. If only a small piece of tooth enamel has chipped off, then cosmetic bonding may be the perfect solution. With this procedure, a small of amount of tooth-colored composite resin is used to rebuild the tooth.
Bonding usually does not require a local anesthetic. First, the dentist roughs the surface so the bonding material will adhere to it. Next, an adhesive is applied, followed by the tooth colored composite resin. The bonding material is shaped to look like a natural tooth and an ultraviolet light quickly hardens the material.
If a tooth is broken or fractured—or if there is already decay present—then a filling may be necessary. In this case, the dentist will use the same type of composite resin material to fill the tooth and restore its natural shape and function.
Aside from matching the natural color of teeth, fillings made of composite resin offer other advantages.
Unlike amalgam or silver fillings, one made of composite resin actually bonds with the remaining tooth structure. This bond prevents leakage around the filling, which can happen with a silver filling. In addition, a tooth-colored filling disperses pressure throughout the tooth so there is less risk of cracking.
If you have a chipped or broken tooth, don’t ignore the problem. Call the dentist and schedule an appointment for restorative treatment.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. James Mace is a family dentist in Washington, MO. He and his staff are committed to ensuring the health, beauty and longevity of your smile. If you need to schedule a dental checkup or another service, contact us today.