A chipped tooth is the most common type of dental injury. Whether from wear and tear or resulting from trauma to the face, it only takes one small accident to be left with a dental injury that requires professional help.
Chipped teeth can be extremely painful and irritating, and more serious chips could cause dental health issues if left untreated. If you need chipped tooth repair in Utah, read on to learn more about chipped teeth and what kind of treatment may be best for you.
What is a Chipped Tooth?
The enamel that coats your teeth is tough — in fact, it is one of the strongest tissues in your body due to its high percentage of minerals — but it can still be damaged. Any type of trauma to the face or an ill-placed bite can cause a break serious enough to require chipped tooth repair.
A chipped tooth is usually easy to diagnose, though in minor cases you might not notice the damage right away. There will likely be a small piece of the tooth missing, and you may run your tongue across a tooth to find it jagged and sharp. More severe chips are often accompanied by gum irritation around the tooth or pain when biting if the chip is near to or is exposing the nerves of the tooth.
Common Ways to Chip a Tooth
There are many ways that teeth can break. Chipping can occur from something as simple as biting down on a piece of ice or from a more serious form of trauma such as a face-first fall or a blow to the jaw. You can even get a chip by using your teeth to tear open a package, or by grinding your teeth in your sleep.
The easiest way to prevent a chipped tooth is to avoid using your teeth for anything other than chewing food, keep from biting directly down on hard foods, and wear protective face gear such as a mouthguard when playing contact sports.
The Risks of a Chipped Tooth
After a broken or chipped tooth, the risk factor of further damage to the tooth increases significantly. Chipped tooth repair will help to strengthen the break, but the tooth will remain prone to breaking if not handled with care. This is especially true if you experience a cavity or another form of tooth decay after the damage, or if your tooth enamel is compromised.
Enamel can weaken due to age, consumption of high amounts of sugar and acidic foods and frequent exposure to stomach acids through heartburn, acid reflux and vomiting. Any weakened tooth increases the risk of a chipped tooth.
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Chipped Tooth Repair
Whether or not you should seek immediate chipped tooth repair depends on the severity of the injury. Some breaks are minor and cause no lasting damage, but cracks that cause irritation or intense pain should be treated as soon as possible to save the tooth and prevent further damage. Minor chips can also be repaired for cosmetic reasons or to smooth an annoying jagged edge.
Most chipped teeth can be repaired with a simple filling and cap. However, a more extreme fracture may extend to the roots, exposing the pulp of the tooth and requiring a more intense procedure. Some of the most common treatment options for a chipped tooth include:
Bonding is the easiest repair method for smaller chips and breaks. This process involves using a tooth-colored resin or porcelain material to mold and cement over the damaged area. The material is hardened with ultraviolet lights that are used to harden and dry the material. After drying, the tooth will look as good as new. Bonding can last for up to 10 years if properly cared for.
Veneers are the next step above bonding, more suited for chipped teeth with more severe and/or previous damage (they can even be attached to a bonded tooth). Rather than a spot-treatment method like bonding, a veneer is a thin porcelain cover that is attached to the front part of the tooth. They are designed to seamlessly match your teeth, and they’ll provide protection and strength to a chipped tooth. They can last for approximately 10 to 20 years.
Like veneers, dental onlays and inlays cover a portion of the tooth with a thin cover to protect and strengthen a chip. Where veneers adhere to the front of the tooth, onlays cover the damaged tooth’s sides, cusps and chewing surface — and inlays only target the chewing surface. They are sometimes referred to as a “partial crown.” They can last for the same amount of time as veneers, around 10 to 20 years.
Crowns and caps are the more extreme version of veneers. Instead of attaching to a specific section of the damaged tooth’s surface, a crown will cover the entirety of the tooth. This is the preferred method for teeth with significant chips or breaks to prevent further damage and lessen pain. The average lifespan of a crown or cap can span 15 to 20 years if cared for properly.
Dental fillings are another common way to fill chips and cracks on damaged teeth. A filling material, often made from porcelain or composite resin, is injected into the affected area of the tooth and allowed to dry. If the patient can comfortably bite down after the material has been set, the filling successfully restores the stability of the weakened area on the tooth. Fillings often last up to 15 years with good dental hygiene.
In cases where the fracture extends to the roots and infection takes hold, a root canal treatment is usually required to save and restore function to the tooth. A root canal treatment removes the inflamed or infected pulp and the inside of the tooth, restoring and saving the natural tooth and preventing further decay. After the procedure, a crown or filling will be applied to the tooth to repair the chip itself.
The long-term health of a chipped tooth depends on the nature of the injury, the length of time from injury to treatment, and how your tooth was cared for following the injury. Seek treatment from a Utah endodontic specialist immediately following a dental injury to increase the likelihood of saving the tooth and preventing infection.
Greater Endodontics Chipped Tooth Repair in Utah
Dental injuries can happen anytime to anyone. At Greater Endodontics, we lead the way in quality care and emergency pain relief for our patients. Our team provides the best Utah root canal treatments, and we specialize in saving and restoring the original tooth whenever possible in chipped tooth cases.Call Now
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Our expert team of endodontists provides premium dental care for Utah residents. Using modern techniques and technologies, we offer restorative, cosmetic, and surgical procedures. We have a variety of sedation options, ensuring you a comfortable, pain-free experience. With leading experts in the endodontic field, and our expert training and diagnosis procedures, we treat patients with unsurpassed care and comfort.
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