chipped tooth

A chipped tooth is when a piece of tooth enamel comes off of a tooth. Having a chipped tooth is not normally a serious problem, but large chips can cause cosmetic issues and pain in some cases. 

If you have a newly chipped tooth you may be wondering what to do with the broken piece of the tooth and how to fix it. You can spit the chip into a cup with milk or your saliva and you should see a dentist as soon as possible. 

After chipping off a piece of a tooth there are several ways to repair or fix it including the following:

  • Glueing the chipped part of the tooth back onto the remaining tooth enamel.
  • Filling the tooth and adding a crown, which covers the broken tooth.
  • Performing a root canal and preventing further damage in the event of a cracked tooth or a severe chip or break that results in the exposure of nerves.
  • Dental bonding, a process that involves applying a tooth-coloured resin to chipped teeth to improve their appearance.

Proper oral health and dental care can help keep teeth strong and reduce the chances of enamel chipping off. Dental hygiene also helps in preventing further damage to the tooth after a chip occurs. 

As experts in a range of restorative and cosmetic dental treatments options, we are well-placed to provide some more information about chipped teeth. If you require an appointment in the Brighton and Hove areas please feel free to get in touch with us.

What to Do About a Chipped Tooth

When you chip a tooth you will need to make an appointment with a dentist. 

There is a possibility that a slightly chipped tooth will heal itself if there is minimal damage, this is a natural process people call remineralisation. However, you should enlist the services of reputable dental offices to determine whether a repair is necessary or not – as if it requires treatment and you leave it too long further problems may arise.

After chipping you should spit the piece of enamel into a cup if possible, you can put it in milk, and arrange to visit your dentist. They will determine the best treatment option. Try to avoid swallowing the piece of the tooth. Keep calm if you accidentally swallow it as there will probably be no ill effects.

If you are in pain you can try using over-the-counter pain medication, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, while you wait for your appointment.

Can You Fix a Chipped Tooth Yourself?

It is not possible or wise to fix a chipped tooth yourself. While a dentist can perform dental bonding and glue a chip back on in some cases a professional must always be the person to do so – and one cannot reliably do it in one’s own mouth.

There is no way of knowing whether you might require a crown, root canal or dental implant – so you should always visit a dentist to get the right treatment for your tooth. 

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Chipped Tooth?

Costs for a chipped tooth can vary substantially, which can be quite frustrating. The costs involved with fixing a chipped tooth depend on the following factors:

  • The severity of the chip, chipped teeth with nerve exposure may require more extensive treatment.
  • The number of teeth affected, chips due to injury may result in chipping or breaks on multiple teeth.
  • The type of treatment you are receiving, some types of cosmetic chip repair such as dental bonding can be more expensive than basic glueing or filling.

It is possible to get essential treatments for chipped teeth cheaply by using the NHS dentistry service, but any kind of cosmetic issue will not be covered and you will need to use a private dentist.

What Causes a Chipped Tooth?

Most people will find that a chip occurs when biting into something hard. The causes of a chipped tooth include the following:

  • Cavities, which weaken the enamel of the teeth and increase the chance of a piece chipping off.
  • Injury to the mouth or jaw, which can chip off enamel directly or weaken and crack a healthy tooth.
  • Thinning enamel, which occurs as a result of poor oral care.
  • Teeth grinding, which people call bruxism, can wear down the enamel of the teeth over time.
  • Biting down, it is possible to chip a tooth by accidentally biting too hard on a solid object such as a fork or hard foods and drinks – including boiled sweets and ice cubes. Chips resulting from a bite can cause considerable pain.

A chip can affect any tooth and there is a sliding scale of severity. A front tooth, back tooth, top tooth, bottom tooth – canine, molar or incisor – can be affected by minor chipping or have significant chips that expose the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth. 

Front tooth and incisor chipping is more likely to occur from hard bites and bruxism is more likely to result in a chip occurring on a back tooth. An injury may result in a chip on any tooth or multiple teeth.

Small chipping or very tiny chipping may not cause any pain or even be noticeable, whereas large chips can be very painful and get worse over time while being clearly visible.

How Can You Prevent a Chipped Tooth?

The best way to reduce the chances of a chipped tooth occurring is to keep the teeth as strong as possible. The best way to do this is to practice proper oral care and arrange regular dental check-ups to maintain the health of your teeth.

To help with oral care you can try the following:

  • Brushing twice a day, ideally more. 
  • Flossing regularly.
  • Going for regular teeth cleaning treatments with a dentist.
  • Avoiding foods and drinks that can deteriorate the enamel, such as sugary soft drinks and starchy foods.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet, which helps keep the teeth and bones strong while promoting good health in general.

When you keep your teeth strong and maintain a healthy lifestyle you will reduce your chances of having a chipped tooth, and you will also lower the likelihood of developing further dental issues or other health issues.

Everything You Need to Know About Chipped Teeth

There are many causes of a chipped tooth, most notably weakened tooth enamel. The best way to fix a chip will depend on how severe it is and other factors, such as whether fixing it is cosmetic or not. Costs for fixing a chipped tooth depend on the treatment.

You can easily lower the chances of a chipped tooth by practising good oral care. If you require an appointment to treat a chipped tooth you can use our restorative and cosmetic dental treatment services. Get in touch today to book an appointment in the Brighton and Hove area.

Contact us to find out more.