A chipped tooth is an unpleasant surprise. It can not only be painful and embarrassing, it can really shake you up. After all, you thought your teeth were so strong and healthy–they shouldn’t be breaking like that.
We understand that the moment can be very stressful, but it’s important to take a moment and consider these five questions before getting treatment for a chipped tooth.
Is It an Emergency?
In the initial shock of your tooth trauma, it may seem like the end of the world. You might feel like your tooth needs emergency care, but it might not.
Pain can be a good guide on this question. If the tooth chip is superficial you may have felt some initial pain, but it goes away fairly quickly. And the tooth won’t be very sensitive to heat or cold. If that’s the case, you don’t need to treat your chipped tooth as an emergency.
On the other hand, if your initial tooth trauma was painful, and the pain persists or flares up when you drink hot or cold beverages, you should try to make an appointment as soon as possible.
You can also give your tooth a visual inspection. If you can see the bloody pulp in your tooth, it needs to be treated as an emergency. If your tooth starts to turn dark in color, you should definitely have it looked at.
Overall, if you’re not sure how damaged the tooth is, it’s best to see a dentist.
What Are My Goals?
There is more than one way to fix a chipped tooth. Deciding which one is the right one for your tooth can be hard. But it’ll be easier if you go to your dentist with a clear sense of your goals.
Are you looking to conceal the injury as soon as possible? Are you only looking for a tooth repair, or is this a good occasion to get that smile makeover you’ve been wanting for a long time? How long do you want results to last?
Answering these questions and creating a priority list before you make it to our office can help you figure out whether veneers or dental bonding is a better choice for you. Or, in the case of a seriously damaged tooth, you might consider dental crowns.
What Are My Limits?
Now that you’ve got all your goals sorted out, it’s time to consider how you might meet those goals. Some treatments are better at achieving results in certain situations. Being aware of your limits will also help your dentist isolate the best treatment for you.
Consider how your treatment options may be limited by:
- Oral health
If you’re on a tight budget, you may not have as many options as you would like. Likewise, your schedule might make it harder to get some types of chipped tooth repair.
And if your oral health is compromised, we may not be able to focus just on repairing the tooth. Other treatments may be necessary in addition to chipped tooth repair. If, for example, your tooth has been knocked loose, we may have to splint it as part of the repair.
Will This Happen Again?
Before you chipped your tooth, you might never have imagined that this would happen. But now that it has, it’s time to consider that it might very well happen again.
But it doesn’t have to. There are many factors that contribute to chipping a tooth, and a lot of them are under your control. Some choices you make, like playing sports without a mouthguard, put you at high risk for tooth injury. Biting and chewing things other than food can also chip your teeth. It’s important to do what you can to protect your teeth.
But some of it might be in your dentist’s hands. Sometimes, it’s your bite that’s the problem. An imbalanced bite can put excessive force on just a few teeth, putting them at high risk for chipping. This is also likely to chip or wear any repairs to these teeth. If your bite is the problem, your dentist will need to balance your bite to protect your teeth in the future.
Do I Have the Right Dentist?
If this is the first time you’ve chipped a tooth, it’s probably the first time you’ve come to your dentist in need of this kind of repair. Are they up to the task?
Make sure your dentist offers the basic procedures required to repair chipped teeth, like dental bonding or veneers. Evaluate their before and after gallery to see if they can get results you’ll be happy with.
To protect your teeth against future chipping, make sure your dentist is skilled in neuromuscular dentistry (bite science) that will allow them to evaluate your bite and balance it to protect your teeth and restoration.