Have you ever had this happen? You’re out enjoying dinner with a friend. You take a big bite of steak and something crunches in your mouth. With a sinking feeling, you say to your friend, “I think I just chipped my tooth.”
What To Do If Your Tooth Is Chipped
The first step, of course, is to call your Las Vegas cosmetic dentist. If you felt your tooth chip, that’s one thing, but many times people will chip a back tooth and not even notice until they start to feel the pain of an exposed nerve. If you’re feeling hot and cold sensitivity, or a back tooth feels sharper than normal, it’s time to come in for a check up so we can make sure you’re okay.
We’ll get you in as quickly as possible. While you’re waiting, there are five things you should do to protect your damaged tooth:
- Use warm salt water to rinse out your mouth.
- If it’s too painful, take an over the counter pain reliever.
- If you’re bleeding, lightly press a piece of gauze or a warm wet washcloth against the area until the bleeding stops.
- If you can’t get into the appointment immediately, the drug store has a product called dental cement. You can use it to coat the remaining part of the tooth until your visit. This could be helpful if the tooth is sharp or jagged.
- Eat soft foods and avoid chewing on that side, if you can.
We will look at your tooth to determine the severity of the problem. If the chip is very small, we may just smooth the tooth and send you on your way. However, bigger chips or cracks may require more repairs. These procedures could include:
- Tooth bonding is a process for placing composite resin bonding materials over the tooth to make it look as good as new. We can match the color of your existing teeth, or, conduct tooth bleaching to make everything look sparkly-new. This process is usually done on a front tooth.
- Crowns are usually applied to the molars or back teeth. A crown is like a cap over the entire tooth. We could apply a partial crown, which would cover one or more of the cusps (ridges at the top of your molars). There are also inlays, which is really more like a filling, in that it fills the crack on the outside of a molar. These are virtually indistinguishable from your real teeth.
- Veneers are made of porcelain and are used on the front teeth (we like to call that “the smile zone). The porcelain laminate material used on the veneer includes several very thin ceramic layers. They are bonded to the original tooth with a special adhesive.
Dental Care After the Chipped Tooth is Fixed
After your tooth is repaired, it’s more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene habits. If you’re not flossing daily, start immediately, and make sure you’re brushing twice a day with good fluoride toothpaste. Finally, make sure you have your six-month checkup with Dr. Hadley and his team.