What to Do if You Chip a Tooth

This week’s Rob’s Reminder is all about what to do if you chip a tooth. If your dental health goals include having an attractive smile, then understanding what to do if you chip a tooth should be of great interest to you. 

Why Do Teeth Chip?

There are a variety of reasons that teeth chip, but the most common is over time, chewing can cause small cracks in the teeth. These cracks grow, like cracks of a windshield, and eventually, the weak portion breaks away. 

I’m not advocating a soft diet to protect your teeth, but I do suggest that you avoid chewing on really hard things like ice cubes or hard candies. I’d also suggest some type of appliance be worn at night if you grind your teeth. 

Symptoms of a tooth that may be breaking include,

  • Hot and Cold Sensitivity
  • Sharp Pain with Biting
  • Weak Feeling in the Tooth. 
  • Avoiding Chewing in one Certain Area Entirely


How we treat a chipped tooth depends on three factors. 

  1. Is it in the front or the back of the mouth? 
  2. How large is the break?
  3. Does it include the nerve? 

Small chips in the front or the back of the mouth can usually be repaired by applying a composite resin which is the same color as your tooth, then polishing and shaping it so the tooth looks and feels as good as new. 

The larger the chip the more complicated the repair. If a large portion of the tooth breaks away in the back of the mouth, then frequently, a crown is necessary to not only fill the void that’s been created by the broken part of the tooth, but to cover the tooth and prevent it from breaking again. 

If a front tooth has a large part breakaway, the repair depends on the size, the location, and whether the break includes the nerve. We can rebuild a tooth with composite resin porcelain veneers or crowns, depending on the size and the strength of what is left. 

The ultimate goal of these restorations is to give you a tooth that looks and feels natural but is also strong enough so that you can use it without breaking it again during normal function. 

If you have found this interesting today, please share it with your friends. Next week’s Rob’s Reminder will be about the link between oral and general health (what can the health of my mouth tell me about the health of my body?). Thank you, and I hope to see you smile soon.

Tips to a Healthier You

Lipkowitz Dental Associates Gloucester MA

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