Cosmetic Dentistry 10/29/2018 Author: Impeccable Smiles

I Chipped a Tooth. What Should I Do?

Teeth are wonderful. They help us take bites of food, chew, speak, and are an integral part of our physical appearance. Whether you have straight teeth or a charming smile with character, teeth pretty important. So if you’ve chipped a tooth, it would be understandable if you freaked out to some extent. Will you be embarrassed to smile in front of people? Is it going to affect the rest of your oral health?

Why did my Tooth Break?

A chipped or cracked tooth can be the result of different scenarios: Trauma (a fall, accident, or a blow to the face), biting too hard into food (especially if it’s a solid texture, such as ice or hard candy), poor oral hygiene, grinding your teeth when you sleep, or playing contact sports.

Teeth can also become weakened by underlying issues, such as acid reflux, alcoholism, or an eating disorder.

Sometimes a tooth will crack instead of chipping. When this occurs, you may not even realize you have a broken tooth. Some of the signs to pay attention to include:

– Pain when you bite into food or when you release the bite.
– Pain with hot or cold food or beverages.
– Swelling of the gumline around the affected tooth.

How to Fix a Chipped Tooth

You’ll have to see a dentist. There’s no way around this. Even if you’re the kind of person who gives zero thought to their physical appearance, failing to fix a broken tooth could result in tooth decay and loss. In addition, poor oral health affects your overall health, increasing the risk of bacteria entering your bloodstream. The tooth will eventually change colors, could get partly jammed into the gumline, or become loose.

That being said, sometimes it’s not possible to receive medical attention immediately. In those instances, there are several things you can do to mitigate the damage until you can see a dentist.

– If you’re in pain, take an over-the-counter painkiller with Ibuprofen.
– If you’re bleeding, apply pressure over the chipped tooth with gauze.
– Apply a cold pack to your mouth near the chipped tooth to reduce swelling.
– If it’s a minor chip and you get hungry, limit your food intake to soft foods, such as smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, and other types of purees to avoid causing additional damage.
– Avoid foods that are too hot or too cold, since the tooth’s sensitivity will be heightened due to the exposed dentin (middle layer of the tooth).
– Floss. Removing food particles from around the chipped tooth will eliminate bacteria that cause inflammation.
– Sleep propped up with lots of pillows. The elevated position will ease some of the pressure in the injured area.

When you see your dentist, he or she will evaluate and treat as appropriate depending on where the chip occurred. If it’s on a back tooth, you may need a root canal and/or a filling.
If it’s on a front tooth, your dentist will use a process called bonding, in which the material is matched to the color of the rest of your teeth. They could also place a crown over your tooth, which is a prosthetic tooth the same color of your teeth.

If the chip is minor and barely visible, your dentist may just polish and smooth it.

Note that if the pain is severe and is interfering with your ability to carry on with your day, you should treat it as an emergency.

Be Careful With Your Tongue After Chipping Your Tooth

If your broken tooth has a jagged edge, you should cover it with a soft pad until you see a dentist. You can purchase dental cement at most drugstores, which will provide you with a smooth, temporary repair of the chipped tooth. Make sure to read the manual and mix the ingredients as instructed.

If you or anyone in your home wears braces, you could use orthodontic wax to cover the chipped tooth. Some pharmacies sell it as well.

In a worst-case scenario where none of those options are available, you can use chewing gum to cover the injured tooth until you get to the dentists.

Let Impeccable Smiles Repair Your Chipped Tooth

At Impeccable Smiles, we understand that visiting the dentist can make you feel anxious. However, one of our top priorities includes making our patients feel welcome and comfortable.

Call us or schedule an appointment here and let us help you take care of your oral health.

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