While it’s important to see your cosmetic dentist in Stafford, VA as soon as possible, a chipped tooth is not considered a dental emergency unless it’s causing you severe pain and interfering with your eating or sleeping schedule.
However, most of the time chipped teeth are far from life-threatening and generally don’t cause very much pain. Chipped teeth are quite common and can happen for any number of reasons. This can include but isn’t limited to biting into hard foods, bruxism or trauma.
The way in which Dr. Kim will treat your chipped tooth will depend entirely on its location, as well as the severity of the damage. Minor chips can be repaired by simply polishing the area and smoothing out the surface.
However, to repair more extensive damage, your dentist may recommend one of the following treatments.
Your dentist might use a composite or porcelain material to fix the chip. He or she will cement the material to the surface of the broken tooth and then will sculpt it to match the shape of the tooth. Dr. Kim may use an ultraviolet light to help dry the material faster. More shaping may be required until the bond fits your bite perfectly.
If you were lucky enough to find the piece of your tooth that chipped off, place it in a glass of milk and make sure that it stays moist. The calcium found in the milk will help keep the tooth alive while you wait to get in to see Dr. Kim. With any luck, we may be able to cement the broken piece back onto your tooth.
- Dental Onlays
When a chip only affects a small portion of a tooth, Dr. Kim may suggest a dental onlay. This option is most often used for chips in molars. However, if the damage is considerable, we may suggest a full crown instead.
Typically, we take a mold of your tooth and send it away to have an onlay created for you. Once the onlay is created, we'll place it over the damaged area and will then cement it into place.
Dental onlays are a great solution because they are designed to last several decades if proper care is taken. However, there are many factors that can shorten the lifespan of a dental onlay.
Molars, for example, are put under enormous amounts of pressure while we eat and an onlay placed on a molar will often wear much quicker than on other teeth.
- Porcelain Veneers
Veneers are like onlays in that they are molded to match your teeth perfectly and are then cemented into place.
Dr. Kim may need to grind away some of your tooth’s enamel (usually less than a millimeter) to allow room for the veneer. Then, once the tooth is ready and the veneer is made, we'll bond it to the affected tooth.
There are numerous ways to treat a chipped tooth and your cosmetic dentist in Stafford, VA wants you to have all the options. Call our office at (540) 699-2414 if you have any questions, want to learn more, or would like to schedule an appointment.