It’s a warm summer day, and you’re sitting on the front porch with a cool glass of ice water. A piece of ice flows into your mouth, and you decide to enjoy the cold. After letting the ice melt in your mouth for a bit, you take a bite, and pain shoots through your mouth. You spit out the ice, and with it, a shiny piece of tooth enamel. A relaxing summer day just turned into a trip to the dentist. Everyday people chip teeth for numerous reasons including biting into hard objects like ice, using teeth as tools to open packages or crack nuts, leaving bruxism (tooth grinding and clenching) untreated, and uneven pressure caused by a misaligned bite. The good news, is that these things can typically be avoided, and Distinctive Smiles of Dublin can repair chipped teeth, when these situations do arise.
Cosmetic Dental Bonding
For patients with chipped teeth, the most conservative treatment option is cosmetic dental bonding. For minor chips, the dentist uses composite resin to replace the missing portion of a tooth, and restore the bite. Composite resin is a clay-like compound that is molded in place to tooth, and bonds directly on the enamel requiring minimal dental preparation and conserving maximum natural dental structure.
If the tooth is chipped too severely for restoration using dental bonding, a porcelain veneer is the next option. Veneers require minor removal of surface enamel to allow thin sheaths of dental-grade porcelain to lay flat on top of the damaged tooth. Porcelain veneers conceal the broken portion of the tooth restoring it to the natural size and shape. Porcelain veneers offer the added benefit of protecting remaining structure, and being stain resistant.
For a severely chipped tooth that does not have enough remaining structure to support a porcelain veneer, a dental crown may be the best solution for retaining the tooth. Dental crowns fit over the top of the entire visible portion of the tooth, and completely repair even severe dental damage.
Care after Chipped Tooth Repair
Depending on the severity of the chip and necessary treatment, most patients experience minimal discomfort. In some cases, there is soreness or swelling for the first 24 hours following the procedure. Patients are encouraged to use over the counter pain relievers, and ice at 20 minute intervals (20 minutes on/20 minutes off) for the first 24 hours. After the first week at most, patients should no longer experience pain, discomfort, or sensitivity to temperature change. If this occurs, contact Distinctive Smiles of Dublin right away to schedule a follow-up appointment.