While it’s certainly not a fun experience, chipped teeth happen all the time. In fact, they are one of the most common dental injuries and our Tauranga dentists repair chips all the time. Here’s everything you need to know about what to do if it happens to you, how your dentist will treat you, and ways to keep the risk to a minimum.
Assess the damage
First and foremost, it’s important to determine the severity of the chip. If it’s a small chip, perhaps a tiny piece of enamel has come broken off, don’t stress: it’s not an emergency. It’s still a good idea to call your dentist and book an appointment as soon as possible, but in all likelihood, if it’s barely noticeable and not bothering you, it will be a simple fix.
If the chip is very apparent or there is any pain at all, book an appointment with your dentist straight away. In these cases, your dentist might need to take an X-ray to check the tooth’s nerve and root before discussing your treatment options.
Signs of a chipped tooth
It’s possible to chip a tooth without even noticing it happen. If your tongue keeps being drawn to a newly ragged edge, it could indicate a chip. And if you are experiencing pain, swelling of the gum, or sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet foods, it’s a good idea to pay your dentist a visit.
Treatment depends on the severity of the chip. Dentists can often fix small, superficial chips with a filling. If the chip is on one of your front teeth, your dentist might use bonding – a tooth-coloured material – instead so it looks just like the surrounding teeth. More severe damage might require more extensive dental treatments such as a dental crown or root canal.
Caring for your chipped tooth
If you can’t see the dentist straightaway, protect the chipped tooth as best you can. Eat soft foods and avoid chewing on that side of your mouth. If your injury happened playing a sport, hold off on the sport to avoid further damage while waiting to see your dentist.
While chipped teeth can’t always be avoided, there are things you can do to protect your teeth:
Sports – use a mouthguard to prevent chips in high contact sports.
Food choices – cut kernels off cobs of corn, slice hard fruit into pieces, be aware of bones in chicken drumsticks or ribs, avoid hard lollies.
Oral health – keeping up good dental practices will reduce the likelihood of an emergency trip to the dentist. By regularly brushing your teeth, flossing and seeing your Tauranga dental hygienist for a yearly checkup, you are reducing your chances of chipping a tooth.
When was your last visit to the dentist?
If it’s been a while, book in to see the team at Duncan Dental in Tauranga today.