Dental Emergency Tips: What to Do If You Have a Chipped Tooth

Dental Emergency Tips: What to Do If You Have a Chipped Tooth

Posted by Dr. Bo Crofoot Sep 16,2019

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The enamel of the teeth is the strongest material in the body; even your bones aren’t as tough! Unfortunately, durable doesn’t mean indestructible, and even your teeth can become chipped or broken. If left alone, this kind of damage can lead to even worse problems over time – even tooth loss! Read on to learn what you need to do if you ever chip a tooth, as well as what your emergency dentist can do to help.

Handling a Chipped or Broken Tooth

Your first step should always be to call your dental office to schedule an emergency appointment as soon as possible. Even if the tooth doesn’t hurt or is located in the back of the mouth where no one can see it, you won’t know how serious it is until the dentist examines it. 

In the meantime, you’ll need to take care of your tooth and the rest of your mouth. If there are any sharp edges, cover them with dental wax or sugarless gum so that they don’t irritate the soft tissues in your mouth. Eat only soft foods and don’t chew with the side of the mouth where the damage is; you should also avoid extremely hot or cold foods since broken teeth tend to be sensitive.

Many over-the-counter medications can help relieve the pain of a chipped tooth; ask your dentist over the phone which one will work best until you can get proper treatment. If there’s any swelling (which can happen with serious fractures), you can use a cold compress to keep it under control.

Treatment Options

Sometimes a chipped tooth is so minor that only cosmetic work may be needed. Other times it’s so severe that it could allow an infection. Depending on your case, your dentist might recommend one of the following treatments:

Dental Veneers: A thin cover is placed on the front of the tooth to cover the damage as well as other cosmetic flaws.

Filling or Bonding: Tooth-colored resin can be used to repair the tooth in a way that looks so natural most people won’t even notice it.

Crowns: If a large portion of the tooth is broken, a crown might be placed to protect the remaining structure.

Root Canal Therapy: If an exposed tooth has been infected, it can often be saved with root canal therapy. (You’ll usually get a crown after this procedure since the tooth will be left somewhat fragile.)

Of course, it’s best to try and avoid broken or chipped teeth altogether through good habits like wearing a mouthguard when playing contract sports or not biting down on hard candy or ice. That said, if your tooth does become damaged, taking swift, appropriate action is the best solution for making sure that your smile stays fully intact!


Dr. Thomas Snarr has almost 30 years of experience in the field of oral healthcare and uses his knowledge and skills to help patients in Rexburg change their smiles for the better. He completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery at Creighton Dental School; as such, he has plenty of options to offer to those with broken or chipped teeth. To schedule an appointment at his practice, Cornerstone Family Dental, visit his website or call (972) 271-1302.

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