In life, there are various situations where you can inadvertently chip or break a tooth. You could end up doing it through tipping a wine glass in such a way that it nicks a front tooth. Alternatively, the culprit could be ice – whether you slip up on it or crunch it in cubes in your mouth.
That’s far from an exhaustive list of the possible causes – and, besides, the crucial question is surely how you react to the problem. Here are some useful steps – follow them as soon as possible…
What should you do immediately afterwards?
In some cases, you might quickly recognise when your teeth have incurred damage. For example, even when biting ice or a sweet, you might feel something strangely resilient in your mouth; that could be a fragment of a broken tooth.
However, if you simply suffer chipping that isn’t to your front teeth, you might not detect the problem so fast. Healthline outlines several symptoms of a chipped tooth; watch out, for example, if your tongue feels a jagged surface upon running along your teeth.
If the damage is causing you severe pain and adversely affecting your eating and sleeping to a large degree, this is an emergency. Therefore, it would be urgent for you to contact a dental practice which can help. Ten Dental is one example of a practice which can act on dental emergencies at London locations including Balham, Clapham and Wandsworth.
Even if you’re not picking up “emergency” vibes, you should still not take longer than minutes to book an appointment with your dentist. A chipped tooth is a weakened tooth – and, thus, vulnerable to worsening. Still, how should you look after that damaged tooth?
Self-care tips for chipped teeth
Okay, so you’ve scheduled that appointment with the doctor or dentist. How should you preserve your teeth while you wait? If the teeth are painful, use an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen, WebMD advises. Use salt water to rinse your mouth.
Has the break left a sharp or jagged edge? If so, conceal it with some wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum. Otherwise, that edge could cut your tongue or the inside of your cheek or lip. If you need to eat before the appointment, stick to soft foods and resist biting down on the problem teeth.
What treatment would be available for your teeth?
Once your dentist has assessed the nature and extent of the damage, they can recommend a good course of treatment for you. For example, if only a small piece of tooth enamel has been chipped off, your dentist might advocate a filling.
If the damage is visible when you smile, bonding or veneers might instead be recommended. The former sees composite resin applied over the damage, whereas the latter attaches a thin shell of material over the tooth’s entire front. Your dentist can talk you through these options and so help you to discern which of them would best suit your specific needs and wants.