If you have a chipped tooth, you might not feel any tooth pain unless the chip is large enough to expose the nerves in the inner layer of the tooth. If a chipped tooth exposes the nerves inside a tooth, you might notice increased tooth sensitivity and pain when chewing or when the chipped tooth is exposed to very hot or very cold food and beverages. A chip on one of the pointed chewing surfaces of the back teeth is called a broken cusp. This type of chipped tooth is rarely painful, but it should be examined by a dental professional. You might need a crown or a dental onlay to restore the shape of the tooth and prevent further damage or decay.
Causes of a Chipped Tooth
The possible causes of a chipped tooth include:
- Falling and hitting your mouth
- Biting on a hard object or food, such as a hard candy or a bone
- Suffering trauma to the face from a sports injury or accident
- Cavities which can weaken the teeth and predispose you to a chipped tooth
Immediate Care for a Chipped Tooth
If you have a chipped tooth, make an appointment to see your dental professional as soon as possible. Meanwhile, follow these steps:
- Rinse: Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Press: If there is any bleeding in your mouth as a result of a chipped tooth, use a piece of gauze to apply pressure to the area.
- Cover: If you can’t see a dental professional the same day that your chipped tooth occurs, cover the chipped tooth with dental cement (available at most drugstores) to protect the remaining tooth until your appointment.
Professional Care for a Chipped Tooth
Treatment of a chipped tooth depends on the size and severity of the injury:
- Small: If the chip in your tooth is very small, your dental professional might simply smooth and polish the chipped tooth, and no additional treatment will be needed.
- Medium: If your chipped tooth involves minor damage to the tooth enamel, your dental professional will probably place a filling, crown, or cap over the chipped tooth to restore its normal appearance and function and to protect the inner layers of the teeth from irritation and infection.
- Large: If your chipped tooth is large enough to expose the tooth nerve, you will likely need a root canal to remove the damaged nerve, plus a crown or cap to replace the chipped tooth. (1), (2)
Your Dental Care after a Chipped Tooth Treatment
After treatment for a chipped tooth, it is important to maintain a regular oral care routine. To help you stick to a routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing, try the Crest Pro-Health Sensitive + Enamel Shield collection of products. Crest Pro-Health Sensitive + Enamel Shield toothpaste is designed to protect sensitive teeth. The Crest Pro-Health Sensitive + Enamel Shield family of products includes Crest Pro-Health Sensitive + Enamel Shield Toothpaste, Glide Pro-Health Floss for Sensitive Gums, and the Oral-B Pro-Health Gentle Clean Toothbrush.(3)
- Crest Product information