It’s a beautiful day and you’ve just started your morning jog. But suddenly, something causes you to lose balance and you fall down, painfully hitting your chin against the sidewalk. After regaining your senses, you stand back up and hold your hand against your mouth, immediately noticing that something feels off—one of your front teeth is now chipped! But what are you supposed to do in this situation? Is a chipped tooth something that will heal up on its own, or should you visit your emergency dentist as soon as possible? Keep reading to learn more about chipped teeth and why they typically require quick treatment.
What Causes Chipped Teeth?
Your teeth are strong, but they are far from invincible. Weakened teeth, especially due to poor oral hygiene practices, are very susceptible to all sorts of problems including chipping and fracturing. There are many risk factors associated with chipped teeth, all of which can cause or escalate the issue:
- Tooth decay & cavities.
- Bruxism (grinding and clenching your teeth).
- Eating disorders and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Worn enamel due to old age.
- Physical trauma from contact sports, a trip or fall, an auto accident, etc.
Why Do Chipped Teeth Require Treatment from a Dentist?
The human body is capable of sustaining and healing significant damage, but your teeth sadly aren’t capable of repairing that type of damage on their own. In rare cases, a tooth that has sustained a small fracture in its enamel layer might be able to repair itself over time; but the high majority of tooth problems involving physical damage like chipping are going to need professional care.
Even if you’re experiencing no symptoms or only minor discomfort, you should still contact your emergency dentist promptly, as you might be at risk for serious oral health issues. Depending on the severity of the situation, your dentist will determine when you need to be treated and what you can do to manage your pain in the meantime, such as taking over-the-counter pain relievers or applying a cold compress to the affected area.
How Are Chipped Teeth Treated?
Fortunately, chipped teeth are easily treatable! Some common treatment options that can easily address minor fracturing include veneers, dental bonding, or dental crowns. For more severely chipped teeth, you might need to undergo root canal therapy before receiving a crown. In extreme cases, the tooth might have to be extracted if the damage cannot be treated—but extractions are typically performed as a last resort. In any case, your dentist will always provide you with aftercare guidelines to ensure a smooth recovery. But for the most part, chipped teeth are a relatively easy fix for your dentist.
If you’ve suffered a chipped tooth, don’t wait around for it to heal; it likely won’t! Visiting your emergency dentist quickly is the best way to ensure that your tooth receives the treatment it needs, and your smile isn’t in any long-term danger.
About the Author
Dr. Rob Schumacher has proudly served patients and families in the Wakefield, MA area for several years. Dr. Schumacher completed his dental schooling at the University of Michigan and is a member of many professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the Massachusetts Dental Association, and the American College of Prosthodontics. His practice is pleased to offer a wide range of available services including emergency dentistry. If you or a loved one is suffering from a chipped tooth, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment: (781) 334-3400.