What to Do If You’ve Chipped a Tooth

A chipped tooth can happen unexpectedly, whether from biting down on a hard object, experiencing a sports injury or even from a fall. While the damage may not seem severe, a chipped tooth still needs to be addressed promptly.

How chips can affect your teeth

When a tooth is chipped, it creates a small defect in the protective enamel layer that covers the tooth. This defect can provide an entry point for bacteria and food particles to accumulate and become trapped. Over time, these bacteria can produce acids that contribute to tooth decay and cavity formation.

Chipped teeth may also disrupt the natural alignment of adjacent teeth, creating spaces or crevices where plaque and bacteria can accumulate more easily. If these areas are not effectively cleaned through regular brushing and flossing, the risk of cavities increases.

Finally, if the chip exposes the inner layers of the tooth, such as dentin or pulp, it can compromise the tooth’s structural integrity and increase susceptibility to decay. This is because these inner layers are softer and more vulnerable to bacterial invasion compared to the hard enamel outer layer. It’s important to consult with your Fioritto dentist to ensure your teeth are protected.

What to do after you chip your teeth

Follow these steps after chipping a tooth:

  • Assess the damage: Is it a minor chip, or has a significant portion of the tooth broken off? Take a look in the mirror and gently explore the area with your tongue to gauge the size and severity of the chip. Significant damage should be addressed as soon as possible.
  • Rinse your mouth: After assessing the damage, rinse your mouth with warm water. This will help clean the area and remove any debris. Be gentle to avoid aggravating the chipped tooth further.
  • Save any tooth fragments: If a significant piece of the tooth has broken off, try to locate it and save it if possible. In some cases, your Fioritto dentist may be able to reattach the fragment, depending on the size and condition of the chip.
  • Manage sensitivity: You may experience some sensitivity after chipping a tooth. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate any discomfort you may be feeling. Avoid hot or cold foods and drinks, if possible.
  • Schedule an appointment with your dentist: Regardless of the size of the chip, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your Fioritto dentist as soon as possible. Even minor chips can lead to more significant issues if left untreated. During your dental appointment, we will assess the chip and recommend the appropriate treatment. This may involve smoothing out rough edges, filling the chip with a dental composite or other restorative procedures.
  • Practice good oral hygiene: After receiving treatment for your chipped tooth, continue practicing good oral hygiene to prevent further damage. Brush and floss regularly, and schedule regular dental check-ups to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
  • Avoid hard foods: While your chipped tooth is healing, it’s a good idea to avoid chewing on hard foods. If you have any habits like nail-biting, opening packages with your teeth or chewing on ice, now is an excellent time to break them.

While chipping a tooth can be concerning, following these steps will help you ensure the best possible outcome for your oral health. Call us today to schedule your next appointment.