How does a dentist fix a chipped tooth?
Smiling might feel like a small action, but a smile can speak volumes. It can make you more approachable, bring joy to another person and even be a sign of reassurance. According to NBC, the physical act of smiling releases hormones that trigger happiness and regulates depression, anxiety and everyday stresses. More smiling means happier people, which is why it’s important that you’re happy with how your smile looks.
If you’ve recently chipped or broken your tooth you might not feel like smiling. Your confidence to beam at friends, family and your Insta followers might have taken a knock.
It’s OK. Dentists can fix a chipped tooth.
When it comes to how people break their teeth, we’ve heard it all. Some of the more memorable tales include:
- coming off a skateboard
- being kicked by their child
- having a run-in with a cow
- being headbutted by their horse
- copping a mouthful while surfing
- eating lollies, almonds, crackling and olive pits
- being hit by malfunctioning tools or machinery
- breaking fishing line or sewing thread with teeth rather than scissors.
So, to repeat the good news: with a little help from your dentist, your broken tooth can be repaired and here’s how we can do it.
What can you do if you chip, break or knock out a tooth
If you find yourself with one tooth less or half a tooth is gone, take the following steps immediately.
Knocked out tooth
This may sound gross but you need to clean the tooth and put it back into its socket. Avoid touching the tooth by the root and rinse in saline solution or milk. If you’re finding this too icky, place it in saline solution until you can get an emergency appointment with your dentist. Your best chance of saving your tooth is if you can see your dentist within an hour of the accident.
Chips and breaks
Depending on the severity this may not need immediate attention, but it’s recommended that you get to the dentist within 24 hours. A break in the tooth will make it very sensitive, so be careful with food temperatures.
Putting a crack in your tooth can cause some pain and sensitivity to temperature. Action is required as soon as possible to avoid the crack getting worse.
What happens during a dental assessment for chipped teeth
Your dentist examines the tooth and may take an x-ray or photos to see the full extent of the damage.
To rescue a tooth that’s been knocked out the dentist assesses the damage to the tooth and socket before implanting it back into place. The dentist then fixes a splint to the teeth on either side of the one that was knocked out. Splints may need to stay in place for two to eight weeks so the bone and tissue have time to heal.
For chips, breaks and cracks the dentist takes an x-ray and inspects the damage using a mouth mirror and dental explorer. What happens next depends on which tooth is broken and how severe the break is. For example, if you break your front tooth, it’s a clean break and you have the chipped fragment, it may be possible to bond the broken part back to the tooth.
For back teeth, and broken front teeth that have broken because of decay, the better option is a resin filling bonded to the tooth. In really severe cases, sometimes a crown is necessary.
Repairing teeth using bonding and filling
Dental bonding is a cosmetic dental treatment. It uses a resin that matches the colour of your teeth and can be filed into a natural tooth shape. The resin is placed on the affected area and dried with ultraviolet light.
Dental fillings are often used for repairing teeth with internal damage caused by decay, but — fun dental fact — they can also be used for cosmetic smile touch-ups. This is because resin fillings are easy to shape and colour so they match your natural tooth.
The end result
So, we’ve learnt that:
- smiling is important to our happiness and confidence,
- accidents happen,
- your dentist can repair your chipped tooth and
- even a tooth that’s been knocked clean out has a chance of being rescued.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve had a mishap with your teeth, the best option is to keep calm. We’re here to help. We will assess the situation and provide you with the best options to keep you smiling. Learn more about our cosmetic dentistry services and book an appointment.