Chipped teeth account for most dental injuries often occurring in accidents or sporting events. Treatment depends on the type, location, and severity of each injury. Regardless, any dental trauma, even if seemingly mild, requires a treatment by a dental professional immediately to prevent further damage and possible infection.
What to Do Before You Get to the Dentist
- Rinse your mouth well with warm water.
- Apply pressure with a piece of gauze on any bleeding areas for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. If this doesn’t work, use a tea bag with pressure on the area to stop the bleeding.
- Apply a cold pack to the cheek or lips over the broken tooth. This will help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- Take acetaminophen or another over-the-counter pain reliever. If you must eat, eat soft foods at a moderate temperature (not too hot or cold).
- Save the shard of tooth if you have it. Sometimes, the dentist can simply reattach the tooth. It’s best to put it into a container of milk or saliva to prevent further damage.
Depending on the injury, there are a variety of treatments.
- Less Severe: If the chip is small, your dental professional can either reattach the shard of tooth or smooth and polish the chipped tooth with no additional treatment.
- Severe: If there is damage to the tooth enamel, your dentist may choose to place a filling, cap or crown over the chipped tooth to correct both appearance and function while also protecting the inner layers of the teeth.
- Most Severe: If your chipped tooth is large enough to expose the tooth nerve, you will likely need a root canal to remove the damaged nerve, plus a crown or cap to replace the chipped tooth.