An impact to your mouth, biting a hard object, chewing crunchy food, or falling—can all cause a chipped tooth. But is a chipped tooth a dental emergency, or can it wait? We explain how to tell if you need to see a dentist right away. And we will discuss treatment options for a chipped tooth.

Do You Need an Emergency Dentist for a Chipped Tooth?

You need to see an emergency dentist for a chipped tooth depending on the extent of damage and your symptoms. See the guidelines below:

  • Chip size – A small chip on a tooth edge or corner may not need immediate attention. But large chips can affect the tooth pulp, or living tissue, and lead to infection, so call an emergency dentist.
  • Bleeding – When a chipped tooth or your gums around it are bleeding, you need prompt treatment.
  • Looseness – See an emergency dentist if you feel any looseness in the tooth, even if the chip is minor.
  • Your symptoms – If you feel pain or pressure in the tooth or sensitivity to heat, cold, or your touch, call a dentist right away.

Are you still unsure of whether your chipped tooth is a dental emergency? Call a dental office to describe the issue, and they will advise you.

You Still Need to See a Dentist

Even if your chipped tooth is not a dental emergency, you still need to schedule an appointment. A dentist will examine the tooth and surrounding areas and x-ray it to detect external and internal damage. A chipped tooth that looks and feels okay may still be at risk for getting worse.

Why Repair a Chipped Tooth?

Why repair a chipped tooth, even if it does not look bad? When you chip a tooth, you lose healthy tooth structure. Consider the effects:

  • Over time, the missing portion of a tooth can cause the area around it to weaken, even crack.
  • Chips near the tooth pulp can worsen, and if damage spreads to the pulp, you may need a root canal treatment.
  • Repairing a chipped tooth controls the damage and can prevent future issues.

How Is a Chipped Tooth Repaired?

Treatment for a chipped tooth depends on the size and location of the chip and the tooth position. Your treatment options may include:

  • Dental bonding – Your dentist can blend dental composite to match the color of your tooth and fill in the missing portion seamlessly. Or, if you found and saved the tooth fragment, bring it to your appointment. The dentist may be able to reattach and bond it back in place. Dentists apply bonding by hand while you are relaxing in the dental chair. Bonding is a quick, low-cost treatment for a chipped tooth.
  • Porcelain veneer – You may prefer a porcelain veneer for a larger chip or a tooth that has other issues that you want to correct, such as discoloration or poor shape.
  • Dental crown – Molar teeth with large chips or teeth that require root canal treatment after a chip may need a dental crown. The crown will cover and protect the entire tooth.

Preventing a Chipped Tooth

Accidents happen. But you can reduce the risk of chipping a tooth with these precautions:

  • Wear a mouthguard – If you play sports or participate in activities that increase your fall risk, a mouth guard will protect your teeth.
  • Break habits that can chip your teeth – Limit the amount of hard or crunchy foods you eat. Use scissors, bottle openers, or the appropriate tool—not your teeth—to open packages or containers.
  • Wear a nightguard – Clenching or grinding your teeth can weaken them and cause cracks or chips. Ask your dentist for a custom night guard, or bite plate, to wear while you are asleep.

Do You Have a Dental Emergency?

If you are in the La Verne, California area and have a chipped tooth emergency, call In Motion Dentists now at (626) 594-0374. We will explain how to protect your tooth from further damage, and we will welcome you to our office for treatment.