A chipped tooth can be bothersome: Maybe it has a sharp edge that your tongue keeps playing with, maybe its rather unsightly, or just maybe your child got bopped in the mouth with a basketball and you don’t know what to do… Well here’s your sign.
Most chipped teeth pose no immediate issues unless there is pain and/or sensitivity involved with the tooth. If there is pain, or a small amount of blood oozing from the tooth, try to get in with your dentist as soon as possible so they can assess what needs to happen next. If there is a small fragment missing and a few drops of blood are oozing out, your tooth may be safe and the dentist will hopefully be able to plug the micro-hole and no further treatment will be needed. If it is a large fracture/chip, a root canal may be in your future..
Interestingly, if the chip that pops off the tooth is in one piece and you can find it, the dentist may be able to bond it back into place. Store the chip in a sealed container of milk for the best outcome. If you cannot find the chip and there was a slight lip-laceration the dentist will need to confirm that the chip did not get left in the lip/cheek tissue. This can be accomplished via an x-ray and is a just-in-case measure.
Regardless if the chipped section is found or not, tooth-colored composite filling material is a quick, one appointment procedure that will take very little time and get your smile back into shape. If there is any mobility with the tooth that had been chipped the dentist may opt to splint the adjacent teeth and hold it in place for 2-4 weeks. Best case scenario is the bone heals up and locks the tooth back into place.
Fixing a small/medium chip on a tooth should be a quick and fairly painless procedure in most instances. It is wise to attempt to schedule an appointment with your dentist at your earliest convenience to prevent any negative outcomes e.g., larger sensitivity issues, root/nerve exposure, or further tooth loss.
For teeth that have larger chips, more like a fracture, further discussion will be required for treatments such as root canals, crowns, or implants.
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