Even if your teeth are strong, nothing prevents a hard knock from leaving an unsightly chip behind. Not all tooth chips are the same, however. While some chips are tiny and present nothing more than a cosmetic concern, a chip can, over time, cause a tooth to break very badly. And when a large part of one of your tooth breaks off the chip can cause increased sensitivity. No doubt, you should have that chipped tooth fixed as soon as possible, but what are your treatment options?
In most cases, dental bonding is a first choice for fixing a chipped tooth. This is because the procedure isn’t invasive. Your dentist won’t need to remove significant parts of your remaining tooth structure to repair a tooth using dental bonding.
You might want to undergo some tooth whitening before getting dental bonding on your teeth. This is because the composite resin used in dental bonding doesn’t bleach like the rest of your teeth when you whiten them. Apart from this, a whiter smile could make it somewhat easier for your dentist to match the color of the resin with your natural teeth. Especially if your teeth are stained and the color is uneven, whitening could help even out the color of your smile to make the dental bonding restoration seem more natural.
If the chip in your tooth is primarily a cosmetic concern, bonding is definitely the best choice. Although it isn’t a long-lasting as many of your other options, keeping the healthy tooth as untouched as possible is better for your overall dental health. However, bonding does occasionally fail, especially if a very large portion of your tooth has broken off.
Veneers are a great option if you want a tooth restoration to last longer. They’re also good for cases where dental bonding keeps failing. Unfortunately though, your dentist will need to remove a layer of your chipped tooth to place the veneer. This makes getting a veneer a completely irreversible procedure. Unlike when a dental bonding restoration breaks off from, you won’t be able to treat a broken veneer like a mere inconvenience. In many cases, you’re likely to experience a lot of sensitivity when your veneer breaks.
The way to fix a broken veneer, is to have it replaced. And generally, veneers aren’t as inexpensive as bonding to replace.
That said, veneers aren’t as likely to break as bonding. While dental bonding is never considered to be a permanent restoration, a porcelain veneer should last at least 5 years, but it can last many more years if you take good care of your teeth.
With bonding, you could need to have it redone if it degrades, depending on how long the restoration usually lasts. Your dentist ought to be able to give you a good estimate of how long a dental bonding restoration would last depending on how your tooth chipped.
As with bonding, it’s good to have your teeth whitened before having the chipped tooth fixed.
Crowns aren’t always a go-to option for fixing chipped teeth – not unless all other options haven’t failed, at least. But while your dentist is unlikely to suggest placing a crown before trying other alternatives to fix your chipped tooth, a crown might be your best option in some cases. However, you should preferably only get a crown placed on a chipped tooth if your dentist recommends it. If not, you’re better off trying other alternatives before resorting to using a crown.
Filing it Down
This last option is somewhat less common, but you could ask your dentist whether they can file the tooth down. This will only be doable if the chip is very small, and even then your dentist will most may be reluctant to do it. Filing down a chipped tooth to make it even takes away some of the natural tooth that’s left, so most dentists will prefer bonding, as it keeps all of your tooth intact and will usually deliver a more aesthetically pleasing result. Removing bits of your tooth by filing it down is also more likely to cause increased sensitivity, further contributing to the general unattractive consequences this option might lead to.
While you get to choose the treatment option that looks best to you, it’s always best to get a professional opinion before making a final choice. If you would like to learn more, feel free to book an appointment with Dr. Stone for help in fixing your chipped tooth. Dr. Stone has over 30 years’ experience as a cosmetic dentist and will be able to make a good recommendation for restoring your chipped tooth.