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Emergency Care for a Chipped Tooth

Teeth are very strong but they can be chipped if exposed to blunt trauma.  This can happen if you hit your face whilst playing sport or biting on very tough foods such as nuts.  If you do chip your teeth then don’t panic as this can be treated by your dentist.  Make an appointment as soon as possible particularly if you feel any pain.

Emergency Steps

Mouth trauma may cause bleeding to apply gentle pressure to your gums or pad your mouth with some cotton wool to stop the bleeding.  Rinse your mouth and apply a cold compress to your face to help reduce the swelling.  If you are in a lot of pain then you may need to visit the emergency ward to ensure that your facial bones have not been damaged or you have a conclusion.  If you can find the bit of tooth that has chipped off you should take this with you to the dentist as they may in some cases be able to ‘cement’ it back in place.
If you have chipped or cracked your tooth then the sensitive dentine or root layer could be exposed. This can be painful so you could try using sensitive toothpaste for a few days to help reduce pain.  Avoid eating or drinking very hot or cold food as this can make the discomfort worse and send shooting pains through your mouth.  If you are in a lot of pain you may need to take some over-the-counter pain relief medication such as ibuprofen.

Further Treatment

This process will need to be evaluated by a dentist who will take an x-ray of your mouth to ensure no additional damage has been done to the bones and soft tissue surrounding the tooth.  If the chip is not painful and only minimal then a dentist can simply file down the area to create a smooth plane.  This simple treatment is inexpensive and is suitable for mild chips.

If you have chipped one of your front teeth then you may want to consider cosmetic dentistry.  Porcelain veneers can create a new surface to your teeth and can also improve the appearance of crooked or discoloured teeth. Dental bonding can also be used and this is similar to veneers but involves the bonding material being painted directly to the tooth. 

If the tooth has been badly damaged then a crown may be needed as this will provide a more comprehensive cover for the sensitive inner tooth layers.  Crowns are also more durable than veneers and will last much longer.  Your dentist may also decide that the tooth is too damaged to save and in this case you may need the tooth out.  This can be replaced with a false tooth that can be pinned into place to ensure you have no unsightly gaps in your teeth.



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