If you’ve ever been munching on snacks like Jolly Ranchers or Corn Nuts, and found yourself biting down on something hard that won’t soften, you know the feeling of panic that takes over. You just broke off a piece of your tooth! Not to worry though—because there are a number of ways your dentist can fix a chipped tooth, all of which we’ll cover here today.
While the enamel is the hardest tissue in your body, it’s not unbreakable. Sports injuries, a fall down the stairs, or biting down on hard candies the wrong way are just some of the reasons that a trip to the dentist may be needed. Typically, your dentist will use one of the following methods to fix a broken or chipped tooth: Dental Filling/Bonding, Dental Cap/Crown, or Veneers.
The dental filling/bonding method is normally used if the piece of tooth that’s missing is fairly small. Your dentist will use a filling or bonding material that is tooth-colored to repair the missing piece. Unlike crowns and veneers, dental bonding doesn’t require the removal of enamel, so your tooth retains it’s natural structure. It’s also one of the most affordable options for cosmetic changes!
Dental bondings aren’t as strong as your natural teeth. That means you should be careful about biting down on hard items such as candies or ice. If you’re careful about these habits, bonding can last several years before it needs to be repaired.
Your dentist will use a shade guide to select the best color to match your teeth. Once selected, they will slightly etch the surface of your tooth so the bonding will adhere. Once prepped, your dentist will apply the tooth-colored, putty-like resin. The resin is molded and smoothed until it is the proper shape. The material is then hardened with an ultraviolet light or laser. After the material has hardened, your dentist will further shape and polish until it matches the sheen of your natural teeth. This entire process takes around 30 minutes to one hour to complete.
Did you know that if a broken tooth does not support facial muscles like it used to, you could look different? For this reason, if the piece of tooth that broke off was large, your dentist will likely recommend a dental cap or crown. There are a few different variations of crowns, all with different benefits. For example, all-metal crowns are the strongest, but they are not the most aesthetically pleasing. Meanwhile, porcelain crowns can be made to look like your natural teeth. Your dentist can help you decide which is best for your particular case. We typically recommend porcelain crowns, because they are built on a metal base and fit over your natural tooth.
Typically a crown takes two visits to the dentist office. During the first visit, your dentist will take impressions of your tooth and determine if any additional treatment is needed on the root. From there, your dentist will numb your tooth and the gum line area. Then they will remove enough remaining tooth to ensure there’s room for a temporary crown.
Once the permanent crown is ready, you’ll go in for your second visit. Your dentist will then make sure the fit is perfect before permanently cementing it in place.
If you have a chipped or broken tooth that can be seen when you smile, you and your dentist might consider veneers as a permanent solution. A veneer is a a thin, custom made translucent layer of porcelain or composite. It fits permanently over an existing tooth to improve its shape, color or size. Not only are they stain resistant and as strong as your natural teeth, we guarantee our veneers here at Midlothian Dental Center for 5 years. Although, they can easily last 15-30 years. When veneers are done well, no one will ever know they’re not your natural teeth.
During the initial consultation, your dentist will examine your teeth and take x-rays and make impressions of your mouth and teeth. To prep your teeth, the dentist will remove about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the tooth’s surface. This is a thin amount about equal to the size of the veneer that will be added to the surface of your tooth or teeth. Once your veneers are back from the lab, it’s time to place them. We are perfectionists here at Midlothian Dental Center, and will ensure your veneers are the perfect fit before using our special cement to permanently seal the veneers to your teeth.
If you have a broken or chipped tooth, don’t wait! Book an appointment today to find the best solution for your needs. Call us at (804) 794-4588.