Emergency Care

    What Should I Do if I Chip a Tooth?

What Should I Do if I Chip a Tooth?

If a tooth is chipped, find the chip, save it and visit your dentist immediately.

Put the chip in a plastic baggie, and keep the chip moist by adding a few drops of water to the bag or wrapping it in wet gauze.

The most important factor when you have a chipped tooth is to visit your dentist as soon as possible. The longer you wait to get the chip fixed means risking permanent nerve damage to the tooth, which is much more costly and involved to treat.

"If the tooth isn't broken across the nerve, the dentist can etch the enamel on both the good tooth and the tooth chip, use a light-cured adhesive and secure the chip to the tooth," says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Paul Bussman, DMD, FAGD.

In some cases this technique works better than bonding, advises Dr. Bussman. Bonded material reflects light differently and in certain settings, the restored portion of the tooth always appears different than the natural enamel.

Although bonding is widely used to restore chipped teeth, it is difficult to obtain a perfect match to the original enamel. "Patients will always have the same tooth shade if the dentist can use the natural tooth chip for a restoration," says Dr. Bussman.

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Original content of this reprinted with permission of the Academy of General Dentistry. © Copyright 2007-2009 by the Academy of General Dentistry. All rights reserved. Read the original article here.