It can happen to any of us, normally when we least expect it: We break or chip one of our front teeth. You might have slipped and fell and hit your mouth, or you realize as you bite down onto a hard piece of candy or ice cube that cracking sound was actually your tooth.
Other common causes for this type of tooth trauma can include:
- Sports Injuries
- Regular Chewing on Hard Objects
- Teeth Clenching and/or Grinding (Bruxism)
- Auto Accidents
Whether the tooth is merely chipped with a small piece missing or has cracked, it is important to see a dentist immediately to discuss potential cosmetic procedures. If you ignore the problem, it can lead to further complications, such as:
- Tooth Decay
- Root Canal
- Further Chipping and/or Cracking
The actual cosmetic dental treatment for a chipped or broken tooth depends on the extent of damage and its location on the tooth. Some of the more common options are:
1. Veneers – Veneers are custom-made “shells” that are secured over the damaged tooth to hide the imperfection. This option is ideal in cases of minor chipping and cracking where the tooth pulp (interior of the tooth) has not been exposed and the tooth is still sufficiently protected by the enamelled outer layer.
2. Bonding – Bonding uses tooth coloured materials to fill in chips and cracks, similar to getting a porcelain, tooth coloured filling. The chip or crack is filled in with the bonding material and then it is finished to match the contour of the existing tooth. The bonding material also helps prevent tooth decay and cavities from developing.
3. Crowns – For more serious problems, where a big piece of the tooth has broken off or the chip is deep and has penetrated into the pulp layer, your dentist may recommend a crown. A crown is an artificial tooth replacement cap that is secured onto the base of the existing tooth structure. The existing tooth structure is prepared using various methods, to ensure the crown will fit securely on top.
In some cases a combination of one or more of the above cosmetic procedures may be required to ensure the tooth remains healthy. For instance, one of your front teeth has a minor crack at the top of the tooth that has not penetrated into the interior pulp layer.
Your dentist may first seal the crack using bonding, and then to further restore the tooth to its former appearance, a veneer could be required. Just keep in mind this is just one example and the treatment for each person can and does vary based on several factors, including their overall oral health and the extent of the damage to the tooth’s surface.
If you have a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth, please feel free to call Oasis Family Dental at (807) 623-2662 to arrange an initial consultation appointment to discuss your different cosmetic restorative options today!