Kate Brayman DDS

How to Fix a Broken or Chipped Tooth

How Do You Fix a Chipped Tooth?

Wondering how to fix a chipped tooth? Chipped teeth, a common dental issue, can range from minor enamel damage to serious fractures affecting the tooth’s deeper layers. Immediate care for a chipped or broken tooth is important to prevent further damage, Fixing a chipped tooth may require dental fillings, bonding, caps, crowns, veneers, or even root canal therapy, depending on the specific damage to the tooth. Early consultation with a dentist, such as Dr. Kate Brayman on Long Island, is essential for appropriate treatment and to restore your dental health.

Common Causes of Chipped Teeth

Common causes of chipped teeth

Chipped teeth can impact individuals of all ages and result from the following: 

  • Biting Down on Hard Foods or Objects: Chewing on hard items like ice, hard candies, or nuts can exert excessive pressure on teeth, leading to chips.
  • Accidents or Trauma: Falls, sports injuries, or car accidents can cause direct trauma to the mouth, resulting in chipped or broken teeth.
  • Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Habitual grinding or clenching of teeth, especially during sleep, can wear down and chip teeth over time.
  • Poor Dental Hygiene: Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to decay and weakening of the teeth, making them more susceptible to chipping.
  • Sudden Temperature Changes: Exposing teeth to extreme temperature changes, like eating something very hot and then drinking something cold, can cause thermal stress and lead to chips.
  • Using Teeth as Tools: Opening packages, cutting thread, or using teeth in place of scissors can cause chips.

Addressing the underlying cause and seeking prompt dental care for a chipped tooth can prevent further damage and maintain oral health.

Types of Broken Teeth

Types of broken teeth vary based on the location and extent of the damage. Here are two common types:

  • Chipped Front Tooth: Often the result of an accident or trauma, a chipped front tooth is visible and can affect the aesthetics of one’s smile. It may involve minor damage to the tooth’s enamel or more significant fractures affecting deeper layers. 

Enamel chips and craze lines are minor, often only affecting the tooth’s outer enamel and typically not causing pain. Fractured cusps and minor chips may require simple treatments like dental bonding. Moderate chips might need more extensive repairs like crowns, while severe chips that reach the tooth’s pulp could necessitate root canal therapy and a dental crown to restore function. 

  • Cracked teeth: These extend vertically towards the root, and split teeth, where a tooth is divided into two parts, can pose significant dental challenges, sometimes leading to extraction. Vertical root fractures start at the root and move upwards, often requiring the tooth to be removed. 
  • Broken Molars: Molars bear the brunt of chewing and can break due to decay weakening the tooth, biting down on something hard, or due to a large filling that compromises the tooth’s structure. A broken molar may not be as immediately noticeable as damage to a front tooth, but it can lead to pain, sensitivity, and difficulty eating.

How to Care for a Chipped or Broken Tooth Before It Gets Fixed

How to fix a broken tooth

Caring for a chipped or broken tooth before you can see a dentist is important to prevent further damage and alleviate discomfort. Here’s what you can do:

  • Rinse Your Mouth: Use warm water to rinse your mouth gently to clean the area and remove any debris.
  • Cold Compress: Apply a cold compress to your face near the affected area to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • Pain Relief: If you’re experiencing pain, consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, following the dosage instructions on the package.
  • Temporary Dental Cement: For significant breaks, over-the-counter temporary dental cement can cover the tooth’s exposed area until you can get professional treatment.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Steer clear of hard, sticky, or chewy foods that could aggravate the tooth. Opt for soft foods and chew on the opposite side of your mouth.
  • Cover Sharp Edges: If the chipped or broken tooth has sharp edges, you can cover it with sugar-free gum or wax paraffin to protect your tongue and cheeks from cuts.
  • Keep the Tooth Clean: Continue to brush your teeth gently, being extra cautious around the damaged tooth to prevent infection.
  • Make a Dental Appointment: Schedule a visit with  Dr. Kate Brayman on Long Island as soon as possible. Prompt professional treatment is necessary to repair the tooth and prevent complications.

Following these steps can help manage a chipped or broken tooth temporarily, but professional dental evaluation and treatment are essential to restore the tooth’s function and appearance.

How Long Does it Take to Fix a Chipped Tooth? 

The time required to fix a chipped tooth varies with the treatment method. Dental bonding for minor chips can be completed in a single visit, taking about 30 to 60 minutes. Veneers and dental crowns, addressing more significant damage, require two visits over two to three weeks, including lab time to create the custom fit. For severe chips, root canal therapy takes one or two appointments, each lasting from 90 minutes to a few hours. The exact timeline depends on the specific treatment and the tooth’s condition.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Chipped Tooth? 

The cost to fix a chipped tooth varies widely and depends on the severity of the chip and the chosen treatment method. Prices also include the dentist’s location, expertise, and materials used for the repair.

Fixing a Chipped Tooth

Fixing a chipped tooth can be achieved through a variety of  dental procedures, depending on the extent of the damage:

  • Dental filling or bonding to fix a chipped tooth.  For minor chips, a dental filling or bonding can be applied. Bonding uses a tooth-colored composite resin that is shaped to replace the missing part of the tooth and then hardened with a special light.
  • Dental cap or crown to fix a chipped tooth. For more significant damage where a large portion of the tooth is missing or the tooth is weakened, a dental cap or crown might be necessary. This involves covering the entire damaged tooth with a custom-fitted cap made of metal, porcelain, or a combination of materials, restoring its normal shape and function.
  • Dental veneer to fix a chipped tooth. If the chip is on a front tooth and aesthetics are a primary concern, a dental veneer can be an option. Veneers are thin shells of porcelain or composite material that are bonded to the front surface of the tooth, offering a natural look and feel.
  • Root canal treatment to fix a chipped tooth. If the chip is severe enough to expose the tooth’s pulp, making it vulnerable to infection and pain, root canal treatment might be required. This procedure involves removing the damaged pulp, cleaning the inner chamber of the tooth, and sealing it, followed by restoration with a crown or filling.

The choice of treatment depends on the chip’s severity, location, and the tooth’s overall health, to restore both function and aesthetics. Consult with Dr. Brayman, DDS to determine the most appropriate method for repairing your chipped tooth.

Kate Brayman DDS

Dr. Kate Brayman

Long Island Dentist at Kate Brayman, DDS

Dr. Kate Brayman is a leading cosmetic dentist serving Long Island and Woodbury NY 11797. A graduate from the New York University College of Dentistry, Dr. Kate Brayman brings passion and artistry into dentistry. She is certified by the American Board of Dental Public Health. Her professional memberships include the American Dental Association, the New York State Dental Association and the New York County Dental Society.

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