Riseley Street Dental – Chipped Tooth
At Riseley Street Dental we can fix your chipped tooth and recreate your beautiful smile.
Depending on which tooth has been chipped and the severity, there are a variety of options to welcome back that smile.
A broken tooth not only affects aesthetic factors but also your ability to eat and drink. You may find you feel pain when drinking hot or cold substances, eat on the opposite or avoid certain foods, this can all be a result of a chipped tooth.
Factors that cause chipped teeth
There are many diverse reasons for a tooth to chip, you may not even notice its chipped until later when the area becomes sensitive. Factors that cause a chipped tooth:
- Uneven chewing pressure
- The stress placed on the tooth
- Disturbed tooth structure due to wear, fillings or previous repairs
- Drastic changes in mouth temperature can weaken the tooth (eating extremely hot and cold substances)
- Accidents that have an impact on the oral cavity.
- Hard foods, such as nuts, toffees/rock candy, and ice.
- Teeth grinding can place pressure on your teeth causing cracks
What can I do while I wait for dental assistance?
When waiting to receive dental care for a cracked or chipped tooth you can take some steps to minimise further damage. At Riseley Street Dental we suggest that you chew on the opposite side of your mouth to avoid placing unwanted pressure on the tooth. Hot and cold foods shouldn’t be consumed, as these may cause aching as well as weakening of the tooth. If the pain is increasingly uncomfortable, chemist-sourced painkillers may be necessary to ease the pain. And to avoid bacteria accumulating around the chip or crack we suggest you rinse your mouth out with warm salt-water water to flush out unwanted bacteria and brush or floss the area as best as possible without aggravating any sensitive or painful areas.
There are three layers to a tooth, the innermost layer is the pulp also known as the nerve, this is an extremely sensitive area within the tooth.
Dentin is the middle layer of the tooth that has a slightly yellow colour and is softer than the exterior layering of the tooth, when exposed after a chip it can be sensitive to cold and hot substances as well as sweets.
The outer most layer is called the enamel and is the hard casing that surrounds the rest of the tooth, it acts as protection against the mouth’s abrasive and changing environment.
What chip do you have and what might be the best way to fix it?
There are a variety of different types of chips and your Riseley Sreet dentist will discuss the best options that suit you when assessed.
Our basic guide for types of chips and possible treatment options.
: A slight chip or fracture of the enamel, that has no sensitivity or pain to it.
- If the roughness doesn’t bother you there is no need to seek dental assistance unless you would like to.
- If you are wanting to fix the chip, one of our dentists will smooth out the tooth with a resin material that blends with your natural tooth colour to replace the missing enamel.
- A veneer may be used to recreate a whole tooth.
: A fracture that moves from the enamel to the pulp, the tooth remains in one piece however as force is applied through chewing, the fracture may grow.
- If the crack is shallow and there isn’t any associated pain, then sometimes the crack can be removed and the tooth can be filled. This filling can vary in size from small to extremely large.
- If the pulp is damaged then a root canal treatment could be needed, and potentially a crown will be placed over the tooth to prevent the crack from spreading deeper into the tooth.
- Sometimes cracked teeth cannot be saved – luckily our experts at Riseley Street Dental have a variety of options for replacing a tooth that unfortunately has to be extracted.
: 1mm – 2mm of the enamel has been chipped away, there is still no pain associated with this chip however, the tooth may be sensitive to different temperatures and types of foods.
- The dentist will build up and attach resin material that is the same colour as your tooth to create a smooth and chip-free tooth. This treatment is usually pain-free and quick, being completed in a single appointment without the need for any needles.
Chipped enamel & exposed dentin
: If the chip is bad enough to expose the dentin, your tooth may ache to some degree depending on how much of the dentin is exposed. The tooth will also become extremely sensitive.
- Depending on the degree of damage your dentist may be able to use the above techniques (veneers or resin material).
- If it’s more serious a full crown may be used to protect the tooth.
- Most of the time this will require some local anaesthetic to ensure a completely comfortable procedure.
Chipped enamel & dentin affecting the pulp
: When the tooth is broken to expose the pulp (nerve), there may also be some bleeding as the nerve is intertwined with blood vessels. The tooth will also be incredibly sensitive to changes in the mouth’s environment as well as likely to cause pain.
- If only a small about of the pulp is exposed the dentist may put a dental medicine into the pulp and cover it with a crown.
- If the chip enters the pulp, a root canal treatment topped with a full crown may be necessary.
Sometimes it’s necessary to dress teeth that are broken this badly and temporarily stabilise things – at a later stage, the dentist can then consider if everything is settled and what the long-term treatment options will be.
Gum line break
: If the tooth is broken at the gum, this is considered an emergency and will need immediate attention to reduce pain and sensitivity.
- Usually if the tooth can be saved, a root canal treatment is required followed with a dental post and a crown for protection.
- If the tooth is not treatable a dental implant may be suggested to replace the original tooth.
Why do cracked teeth hurt?
A cracked tooth may cause excessive discomfort and pain, especially when exposed to cold or hot substances. The pressure from biting down will open the crack (exposing the pulp depending on the severity of the crack), after taking a bite and the pressure is released causing pain. When the pulp is irritated and damaged it can cause disease and infection, therefore root canal treatment is conducted.
What are dental veneers?
A dental veneer is used like a front-surface facade that smooths out and surrounds the front face of a chipped tooth to recreate a smooth and chip-free tooth. The veneers will be used when the crack or chip is relatively small and doesn’t affect the entire tooth.
What is a crown?
Crowns are like veneers as they cover the tooth to prevent further damage. The crown is a cap that is moulded to fit your original tooth, fitting over the top of the chipped tooth. Crowns are usually made from ceramic or Zirconia and look almost identical to the original tooth. Crowns are used when a significant amount of the tooth is missing.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
Root Canal Treatment is used when the tooth’s pulp is exposed to bacteria and becomes infected. Infected tooth pulp can lead to the tooth dying and decaying.
Root Canal Treatment is the process of removing the infected pulp, cleaning the cavity and sealing it, stopping tooth decay.
If the tooth has started to decay too deeply then the tooth may need to be removed; however, be assured that our dentists will do whatever is possible to save teeth from extraction when they can.
Are treatments for a chipped tooth permanent?
Chipped teeth used to mean that the tooth will never be the same – however, with advancements in dental science and dental materials and techniques you can end up with a repaired tooth that is similar to the strength of the original structure!
If the repair is cared for in the manner our dentists suggest, the restoration may last years if not decades. If maltreated, the restoration can become damaged and may require repairs or replacement.
Will I lose my tooth if it is cracked?
This depends entirely on the severity of the crack. Tooth extraction is a last resort and will only be suggested if all other options are unacceptable. A full extraction will only occur if the structure of the tooth isn’t saveable.
What can I do to prevent my teeth from chipping/cracking?
If you play competitive or recreational high impact sports it is always suggested that you wear mouth guards, helmets, face guards, etc.
If you grind your teeth, we suggest you to come visit us to help create a treatment plan to avoid placing excess pressure on your teeth. This may involve making a night guard or “occlusal splint” that acts as a barrier between the teeth at night.
By avoiding hard foods, will reduce the likelihood of tooth chipping and cracking. Activities such as opening a pump bottle with your teeth or holding onto objects or eating ice can cause unnecessary strain on your teeth.
To get in touch, call us on (08) 9316 2304, email us or fill out our online form if you have any enquiries about our services or would like to book an appointment.
Don’t hesitate to come in and visit our friendly and knowledgeable team!