Tooth chips and fractures are treated by dentists every day. They range from minor to severe, with treatment based on the extent of injury. For instance, craze lines affecting the outermost layer of enamel, often require no care to protect the underlying structures of the teeth, although patients may wish to correct the cosmetic appearance. Fractured cusps may not hurt, but can affect the functionality of the tooth if a piece of the chewing surface breaks off. A crack extending vertically toward the root, split teeth, and vertical root fractures should always be treated to minimize the risk of infection and more severe damage.
A consultation with Long Island cosmetic dentists Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot is the best way to determine which method is best for fixing your chipped tooth, but here are five possible options they may discuss.
Composite bonding is a great, non-invasive way to repair a chipped tooth. We also use dental bonding to treat cracks, decay, discoloration, gaps and misshapen teeth. In most cases (except for significant decay), no anesthesia is needed, and results are long-lasting (up to 10 years!) Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot will prepare the tooth with a conditioning liquid and apply putty. After the putty is molded and smoothed, a UV light hardens the composite. Once the bonding has dried, it is shaped and polished to perfection.
Porcelain veneers are an even longer lasting option that can cover damaged teeth for up to 30 years. Our cosmetic dentists gently remove the outermost layers of enamel, so the new tooth doesn’t appear too bulky. With same day dentistry, we can take impressions of the teeth using 3D software and create the veneers in a lab after your initial consultation, so you don’t need to wait a long time for your new smile.
Crowns are the most common restorative treatments, typically done after someone bites a piece of ice, a popcorn kernel, or breaks a tooth off into some other type of food. If you are having pain when chewing or drinking, it’s likely you will need this type of chipped tooth fix. At our office, we administer sedation to relax you, prepare the tooth surface in the same way we do for veneers, take impressions of the teeth to create CEREC crowns, and cement the new structure in place. Crowns are important to maintain functionality of the tooth and prevent further damage.
A chip or crack that extends all the way down to the pulp and root will require a root canal to prevent the damage from extending. Patients with chipped teeth who come in complaining of extreme tooth sensitivity, swelling and throbbing require root canals. This common procedure requires clearing out decay and debris, and removing the irritated nerve. We’ll take x-rays to assess infection and administer anesthesia to minimize discomfort (as well as sedation to relieve anxiety, if you wish). We will drill into the tooth, remove the pulp and nerve, then seal the tooth to prevent infection. In some cases, we add a crown on top to ensure the tooth maintains full strength.
If your chip or crack extends below the gum line or broken pieces are completely missing (as in the case of many traumatic incidents), we will have no choice but to extract the remaining tooth. A dental implant includes a substitute tooth made of porcelain, as well as a titanium screw and post that act as an artificial root. Tooth implants are designed to last a lifetime, but the procedure is a bit more involved. You will need to wear a temporary restoration and allow some time for the new foundation to fuse to the jaw bone before the final implant is placed.
For more information about treatments for chipped or damaged teeth, please call Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry to arrange a free consultation: 631) 296-0570.