Chipped Tooth? Explore Your Options Here
You made the winning goal with a header! Well, actually, a "mouther," and you chipped your tooth. Small price to pay, but what do you do now? There are lots of options depending on which tooth it is and how badly you’ve chipped it. We’ll concentrate on front teeth, but back teeth get chipped too!
The Inside Anatomy of a Chipped Tooth Revealed!
There are three layers to every tooth. The first layer is the extremely hard enamel.
The layer underneath the enamel is called the dentin. It is a bit softer and usually has a pale yellow colour. If exposed after a big enough chip, it will be sensitive to hot, cold, and sweets.
The innermost layer is the pulp of the tooth. Most people call it the nerve. If exposed, it will be extremely sensitive.
With that little primer on basic tooth anatomy out of the way, we now have a better visualization for discussion of the different degrees of damage if you have a chipped tooth.
- You just barely chipped a little bit of the enamel. It’s rough to the tongue, but your tooth doesn’t ache, nor is it sensitive to hot, cold, or sweets.
- You chipped about 1mm–2mm of enamel. The tooth doesn’t ache, but may be slightly sensitive to hot, cold, or sweets.
- Your chipped tooth is bad enough to expose the dentin. Now the tooth may ache to some degree depending on the amount and depth of the dentin exposed and really be sensitive!
- The chip on your tooth has broken through enough enamel and dentin and the pulp of the tooth is exposed. There may be some bleeding and the tooth will most likely ache and be extremely sensitive to hot, cold, or sweets.
- Tooth broken off at the gum line. Leave the game and head for your dentist.
1. Barely chipped:
Do nothing if the roughness doesn’t bother you. Otherwise, your dentist can smooth it up in a few minutes for you.
2. Chipped enamel:
This is an easy fix nowadays. The dentist can build up and “glue” tooth coloured material right where the tooth enamel was chipped.
3. Chipped enamel with exposed dentin:
Depending on how big of a chip, here your dentist might be able to use the same technique as #2.
Another option here would be to have a veneer placed for bigger chips.
Finally, if it’s a really big chip but not fractured into the nerve, a full crown may be in your future.
4. Chipped enamel and dentin into the pulp or nerve:
If just a bit of the nerve is exposed, then the dentist may try a “pulp cap” which puts a dental medicine on the pulp exposure and a full crown is fabricated.
If the chip goes fully into the pulp, a root canal treatment will be needed with a full crown as the final restoration of the tooth.
5. Tooth broken off at the gum line.
This is the worst-case scenario and your tooth will require a root canal treatment, a dental post, and a full crown.
The Cost of a chipped tooth
The costs of getting your tooth fixed listed below are 2015 private dental insurance prices.
For a barely chipped enamel, check with your dentist. Maybe the goal you made will get you a freebie. If not, the cost should be minimal. Do not try and smooth it out yourself. A small chip can hide bigger fracture lines that may chip off even worse.
Chipped enamel only
Adhesive or “glued” edge tooth-coloured filling of front tooth
Chipped enamel into the dentin
Adhesive or “glued” side and edge tooth-coloured filling
Composite veneer (plastic)
Chipped enamel and dentin into the pulp or nerve without root canal
Chipped enamel and dentin into the pulp or nerve with root canal
Tooth chipped off at the gum line
(This is the full monte.)
Post to build up tooth
The costs included in this article are averages and for front teeth damage. Prices will vary by individual case and location.
Veterans can check on prices at the Department of Veterans' Affairs dental fee website.
A chipped back tooth will have similar types of damage, treatment, and costs as a chipped front tooth, although total costs tend to be somewhat higher.
So, forewarned is forearmed, but don’t take a literal soccer forearm or any headers anywhere near your teeth now that you’ve read this article!
There’s a lot more great dental information to sink your teeth into, including possible lower overseas costs for a broken or chipped tooth at https://www.dentalguideaustralia.com.