If you chipped a tooth, you might want to let it go untreated. However, this would likely be a mistake. Even if a chipped tooth doesn’t cause immediate problems, it can develop complications if you leave it untreated.
But what is the best reconstructive dentistry in Wichita Falls for your chipped tooth? It might be a dental filling, dental bonding, porcelain veneer, or dental crown, depending on the severity of the chip.
Complications of Chipped Teeth
Often, a chipped tooth is simply a cosmetic problem. Having a visible chipped tooth in your smile might make you feel self-conscious.
However, it’s also possible that a chipped tooth could develop more severe complications.
A chipped tooth often has a very sharp edge, leading to painful cuts on your cheek and tongue.
Sometimes a chipped tooth will have a recession that traps food and bacteria. As the bacteria shelter in the recession, they excrete acid, which can enlarge the area, turning it into a cavity.
Sometimes, a chip from your tooth can leave the tooth weakened. Other areas of the tooth may erode more quickly without support, speeding the pace of tooth destruction. Sometimes, the chip even starts a crack in the tooth that can grow, splitting the tooth itself.
To avoid these complications, it’s a good idea to see a Wichita Falls dentist about your chipped tooth. Your dentist will evaluate possible complications and recommend an appropriate treatment for your chipped tooth.
Very Minor Chipped Teeth
The best treatment might be nothing if you have a tiny chip on your tooth. Some chips are unlikely to develop complications.
Other times, a chip that has a sharp edge might simply need to be smoothed down.
Minor Chipped Teeth
For more serious chipped teeth, we might recommend a filling. Fillings help avoid situations where food and bacteria can get trapped in the tooth. We use tooth-colored fillings, a combination of resin (plastic) with additions of hard material, like glass or ceramic, to add strength, like in concrete. It also starts soft, like concrete, so we can shape it into a filling. Then we apply a curing light to harden your new filling.
We can make your tooth-colored fillings the exact color of your natural tooth. With a polish to help it blend in beautifully, no one will guess that you have a filling.
Cosmetic Chipped Teeth
If your tooth is chipped in a way that disrupts the beauty of your smile, we have cosmetic options to restore the appearance of your smile. The easiest and least expensive is dental bonding.
Dental bonding is essentially the same as tooth-colored fillings. However, instead of using the putty to fill in a hole, we use it to rebuild the tooth where it chipped off. This can also help protect your teeth against future erosion. Dental bonding, like a tooth-colored filling, is relatively quick to place and inexpensive.
However, dental bonding has a limitation: it often doesn’t last as long as some types of dental restorations. Bonding is more exposed than a filling so that it can wear down more quickly.
Although dental bonding is often the first choice to repair a cosmetic tooth chip, many people like to upgrade to porcelain veneers if their bonding doesn’t last as long as they’d like.
A porcelain veneer is a shell of advanced ceramic that slides over your natural tooth. It can repair more than just a simple chipped tooth, as it can reshape and brighten your tooth. Porcelain veneers are strong and stain-resistant, usually lasting ten years or longer.
Structurally Chipped Teeth
Sometimes a chipped tooth is weakened. This might be because much of the tooth structure broke away, reducing the strength of the remaining tooth structure. Or it might be because the chip started a crack in the tooth. The crack can grow and threaten to split the tooth apart.
When a chip weakens the tooth, we usually recommend a dental crown. A dental crown completely covers the visible part of the tooth. It holds the tooth together and gives it extra strength. It also protects the tooth from infection.
Speaking of infection, sometimes a chip can expose the tooth’s interior, called the pulp chamber. When this happens, the tooth can get infected. If the tooth is infected or seems at risk of infection, we might recommend root canal therapy to remove the tooth pulp and eliminate or prevent infection.
Rarely, what seems like a tooth chip might be a crack that extends deep into the tooth root. We might have to extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant in this case.
Chipped Tooth Repair in Wichita Falls, TX
If you have a chipped tooth, it’s usually a minor problem that might need little or no treatment. However, it’s best to get it checked to rule out possible serious complications.
To learn the best treatment for your chipped tooth, please call 940-322-2252 or use our email form to schedule an appointment with cosmetic dentist Dr. James Green or Dr. Dustin Van Tassell today at StarImage Dentistry in Wichita Falls, TX.