Suddenly biting down a firm and solid food, falling, taking a hit in the cheeks or mouth, tooth decay – these are some of the possible causes of having a chipped tooth. If the chipped tooth happened to be in the visible are of the mouth, it can be embarrassing because it is not a pleasant sight.
Furthermore – depending on the degree of severity of the chip – a chipped tooth may expose the nerves inside and tooth sensitivity may develop. This is characterized by feeling a sharp pain in the tooth or gums whenever eating or drinking something hot or cold. When having a chipped tooth, it is better to see a dental professional as soon as possible to know the possible methods of restoring it.
In the event of having a chipped tooth, here are some steps that one should do before going to a dental professional:
1. If there is bleeding, rinse the mouth with lukewarm water to clean it of the tooth debris. Then, put rolled gauze into the affected area and mildly bite the gauze to stop the bleeding. Usually, it takes about 10-15 minutes before the bleeding stops. Cotton balls can also be used as a replacement to the gauze.
2. In the event that the chipped tooth broke away cleanly, clean and save the chipped part, some dentists re-adhere them temporarily.
3. If there is pain, taking an over-the-counter pain killer helps in relieving it. If there is swelling, a cold compress should be placed in the affected area for about 30 minutes. Nowadays, there are over-the-counter dental cements available like Dentemp, this can be used to temporarily cover the tooth thus preventing exposure of the nerves and tooth sensitivity.
4. If dental cement is unavailable and a visit to a dentist would have to wait and the chipped part is small, it is advisable to file the chipped tooth with an emery board. A sharp or pointed edge may wound the cheeks or tongue.
But this is not recommended on large chips because there is the risk of exposing the nerve endings of the tooth. When consulting a dental professional, they may recommend one of the following options.
1. Dental filling – this is usually done on minor tooth damages and the usual materials used are composites, resins, porcelain, and silver amalgam. Silver amalgam is the least common due to aesthetic reasons, but it is also the cheapest material. Composites and resins are better looking than amalgam, but they may cost twice as much as amalgam.
2. Dental bonding – this procedure involves permanently fastening dental materials to the chipped teeth with the aid of dental adhesives and curing light.
3. Crown replacement – dental crowns – a.k.a. Caps – protect a cracked tooth and may be used for larger chips. This is more costly than dental fillings and the materials commonly used in dental crowns are porcelain-metal, porcelain, and gold.