A chipped tooth is a common oral health concern, particularly among those participating in sports activities. However, anyone can suffer tooth damage through accidents or bad habits, such as biting their fingernails or using their teeth to remove a bottle top. But, what should you do with a chipped tooth? Fortunately, treating a chipped tooth doesn’t always require visiting the emergency dentist. But if you are not in pain and the tooth isn’t bothering you, do you need to go to the dentist at all? Let’s take a look.
When is a Chipped Tooth a Dental Emergency?
Dental emergencies are usually obvious and require immediate attention to address severe pain or uncontrolled bleeding. While a broken tooth can be a serious issue, chipped teeth are generally considered minor problems. Unless you have lost a large portion of the tooth, are bleeding excessively, or are in pain (and there is no threat to your health and well-being), you won’t need to see an emergency dentist.
Even though chipped teeth are not dental emergencies, they can become a problem in the future without appropriate dental treatment. So, if you are wondering what to do with a chipped tooth and haven’t had to visit an emergency dentist, be sure to schedule a routine dental appointment as soon as possible.
An untreated chipped tooth may worsen over time, even if it doesn’t hurt. A chip may be more serious than you realise and could lead to infection and pain in the future, requiring more extensive and costly treatment or even tooth extraction.
What is the Treatment for Chipped Teeth?
The treatment for chipped teeth varies, depending on the extent of the damage. However, even in a dental emergency, the treatment primarily makes you comfortable if you are in pain or is to stem any bleeding. The dentist will usually schedule another appointment within the next day or two for any further treatment that may be required.
Treatments to repair a chipped tooth include:
Cosmetic contouring is when the dentist polishes the surface of a chipped tooth to smooth down a jagged edge. This treatment is typically limited to slight tooth damage.
Tooth bonding is an effective measure for repairing chipped teeth. The dentist applies a tooth-coloured composite resin to the tooth, forming it into the right shape to make an invisible repair before polishing the tooth, so it blends seamlessly into the smile.
Dental crowns strengthen and protect weakened teeth. The dentist may place a crown over the tooth if there is an extensive chip to prevent further damage.
A chip that has extended down into the dental pulp in the centre of the tooth may need a root canal. Although its name often conjures up feelings of dread, it is a very routine procedure and is no worse than having a dental filling—although it takes longer.
Root canals are sometimes carried out as dental emergencies because of a severe infection in the pulp chamber. This is why it’s always best to have a dentist examine a chipped tooth sooner rather than later.
Occasionally, a chipped tooth may be so severe that a tooth extraction is the only treatment. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence. Tooth extraction may be done as a dental emergency or routine appointment.
Now you know what to do with a chipped tooth, make sure you get an expert opinion from a dentist to determine whether the damaged tooth is a dental emergency or not. Call Leichardt Marketplace Dental on (02) 9100 0188 and book a consultation if you have a chipped or damaged tooth that may require treatment.
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