Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility What to Do if You Have a Chipped Tooth - Sinquefield Family Dentistry

What to Do if You Have a Chipped Tooth

April 15, 2022

When you chip or crack your tooth you could be exposing the sensitive inner layers of your tooth to bacteria, which can lead to an infection. The enamel of your tooth is there to protect the soft inside from bacteria, so if the enamel breaks it is left completely exposed. It’s important to go to your dentist as soon as possible to have your tooth checked out and have the appropriate procedure done to fix it.  

What Happens When You Chip a Tooth 

You can pretty much chip your teeth on anything. Hitting your mouth on a hard surface, biting hard foods or objects, grinding your teeth, and cavities can lead to chipped or broken teeth. Even if you feel no pain or sensitivity if you think you might have a cracked tooth you should visit a dentist and have it looked at. The longer a chip or crack is left untreated the worse it will become and you may end up losing the entire tooth.  

When you chip or break a tooth you should immediately rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. If you’re bleeding then you should apply pressure to the area like you would with any other injury. Your face may swell from the break so you can use a cold compress to reduce the swelling. For any pain you may encounter take some over-the-counter pain relief and anti-inflammatories to keep the swelling down. 

If your tooth breaks off, try to find the missing piece and wrap it up in wet gauze. Do not superglue it back into your mouth. Depending on the severity of your broken tooth, your dentist may be able to reattach it.  

If you can’t get to the dentist right away avoid chewing any food in the area of the broken tooth. You may experience heightened sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods much like a cavity. If your broken tooth has a sharp or jagged edge you can use dental wax like the kind used with orthodontic braces to avoid cutting the inside of your mouth.  

Repairing the Chip at the Dentist 

When you arrive at the dental office, your dentist or hygienist may perform a thorough examination of the area to determine the severity of the break. You may need to have x-rays done so the dentist can see the full extent of the damage.  

If you were able to recover your broken tooth, your dentist may be able to reattach it with dental bonding. Dental bonding is also used to fill any gaps or fissures in the teeth. It is a tooth-colored composite resin, so you can’t even really tell a difference. 

If the break goes too deep into the tooth you may need a root canal. If the soft tissue inside the tooth is damaged, only focusing on the surface enamel will not help. Your endodontist (specialist on the inside tissues of the tooth) will remove any damaged pulp (the inside layer of the tooth) and fill the tooth with a gummy substance called gutta-percha and complete the surgery with a filling or a crown.  

If you live in the Murfreesboro area and are concerned that you may have a broken tooth, come visit Sinquefield Family Dentistry. We’re a family-oriented dental office that’s been in Murfreesboro, TN for over 15 years.