What to do About a Chipped Tooth



Chipping a tooth is a dental emergency that happens to people of all ages. As pediatric dentists, we often suggest that parents try to ensure there are protections such as soft carpeting in a toddler’s environment because it’s not uncommon for little ones to fall and damage a tooth. Healthy children are active and suffering a broken or chipped tooth is normal. Mouth guards are recommended for children and adults playing various sports.

Below, learn what to do if you have a chipped tooth, find out causes of and potential complications resulting from tooth trauma, plus treatments dentists use to address the issue.

Causes of a Chipped Tooth

The hardest biological material that exists is tooth enamel. The damage-resistant, durable enamel on your teeth is stronger than bone. Teeth are also brittle, however, making them prone to chip, crack, and break. The following are among the most common causes of a fractured or chipped tooth:

  • Chewing ice
  • Chewing hard candy or other hard foods
  • Contact sports, such as hockey
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Facial trauma as a result of an accident
  • Untreated cavities
  • Using the teeth as a tool, to open or tear things

What to Do About a Chipped or Broken Tooth

When a tooth breaks, chips off, or becomes fractured, the first step is to gather any teeth fragments to bring to your dentist. Next, make an appointment with your dentist and describe what has happened. Until you can see a dentist, the following steps may be called for, depending on the circumstances:

  • If there is any bleeding, rinse your mouth out with warm water.
  • Apply pressure with gauze or a wet teabag to any area in your mouth that’s bleeding.
  • In the event of swelling, apply an icepack on your cheek.
  • If you have temporary dental cement, use it to cover major cracks in the teeth.
  • If you are experiencing pain, use over-the-counter pain reliever that is safe for you to use.
  • Use milk, a saline solution, or saliva to cover a broken tooth.
  • Do not brush a broken tooth until you have seen your dentist.

Complications Resulting from a Chipped Tooth

It doesn’t always hurt when a tooth chips off, but various problems may still occur. Small chips aren’t typically troublesome unless the teeth have sharp edges that could cut your mouth. When a chip is significant, the following are among the possibilities of what you might experience:

  • Hot/cold sensitivity
  • Bad breath
  • Pain
  • Infected roots
  • Swollen glands
  • Sharp edges that could cut your cheek, gums, and/or tongue
  • Tooth decay
  • The size of the chip could grow and ultimately result in the need for an extraction or a root canal

Dental Treatments for a Chipped Tooth

Every situation is different, and it’s only after you’ve been examined by a dentist that the proper course of action will be decided upon. One of the considerations for treatment is whether or not the dental pulp has been affected. The pulp is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. It can be extremely painful if an injury that has affected the pulp goes untreated and becomes infected—this situation would result in more extensive dental work than if treatment had been sought right away.

Possible dental treatments for a chipped tooth include:

  • Filing the chipped tooth to smooth rough edges
  • Filling the tooth with dermal bond to restore the aesthetic appearance
  • Capping the tooth
  • Placing a crown over the tooth
  • Use of a night guard, to prevent further damage, if the issue was caused by grinding your teeth

Contact Woodbridge Kids Dentistry Today

If you or your child need to see a dentist for a chipped tooth or for routine dental care, contact the friendly experts at Woodbridge Kids Dentistry. We treat individuals of all ages, though we specialize in treating kids. Among the options for treatment is sedation dentistry, for anxious patients. We are an all-inclusive center, which means that multiple medical and dental specialists are under one roof. Call Woodbridge Kids Dentistry today at (905) 264-1KID (1543).