5 Problems from a Chipped Tooth + 4 Common Questions Answered

Plus, How We Can Make Your Tooth as Good as New

Despite all of our efforts to take care of our teeth, sometimes accidents happen. You may trip and fall, bite on ice or a piece of hard candy, be involved in a car accident, or suffer a sports injury. A chipped tooth can even occur due to teeth grinding while you sleep. But a chipped tooth is not something to ignore.

The problems that result from a chipped tooth can vary, from minor to major. And even a minor chipped tooth can turn into a big problem over time. That’s why it’s important to address the injury as soon as possible.

Symptoms of a Chipped Tooth

A chipped tooth can occur in the front of the mouth where it is visible to you—and everyone else. But sometimes a chipped tooth can occur near the back of your mouth. And it may be so minor that you don’t realize it. Nonetheless, there are a few symptoms of a chipped tooth.

  • Jagged tooth edges – felt along the surface of your tooth
  • Sore tongue – resulting from your tongue frequently brushing the rough surface
  • Gum irritation – around the damaged tooth
  • Dental pain – if the chip is near a nerve ending

Problems Caused by a Chipped Tooth

A chip may not seem like a big problem. But even the smallest of chips in a tooth can cause problems in the long run—even shortening the life of your tooth and causing tooth loss.

Tooth Abrasions

A chipped tooth can cause abrasions in the soft tissues of your mouth: tongue, cheek, and gums. These abrasions occur from surfaces rubbing together and can become sensitive and sore. Drinking and eating may become painful and/or difficult.

Tooth Sensitivity

If your chipped tooth is located close to a nerve in your tooth, it can create sensitivity to cold and hot food or drinks. If you find yourself in pain when consuming hot or cold items—or avoiding them altogether—it’s best to see your dentist right away. Toothpastes for sensitive teeth can help. But if you have a chip, they won’t make your problem go away.

Tooth Decay and Cavities

A chipped tooth can create a reservoir within your tooth that collects particles of food. The location and depth of a chip may not allow you to brush or floss properly. In addition, dental decay can affect the entire tooth and spread to the surrounding teeth as well. So, any food particles that remain can cause decay in your tooth and turn into a cavity that will need to be filled. The decay can also result in the need for a crown—or permanent tooth loss.

Tooth Infections

A deep chip in your tooth can affect the root of your tooth, exposing it to bacteria and creating a higher risk of infection. Once an infection affects the root of your tooth, antibiotics are usually not helpful. So, a root canal may be necessary to preserve your tooth.

Bad Breath

Finally, dental decay and a tooth infection can both cause bad breath—and who wants that?

How We Repair a Chipped Tooth

The good news is that a chipped tooth is easy to fix. At Peace Haven Family Dentistry, we take every chipped tooth seriously. 

Your dentist will take the time to examine your tooth and the surrounding area for any signs of decay. We will then clean the area thoroughly. If a filling is needed, we will clear away any damaged tooth to make way for the new tooth surface to be added. 

If the chip is severe enough, you may require a crown to repair and cover the damaged area. Either way, your tooth will be looking good as new!

Chipped teeth are another reason why we recommend visiting your dentist twice yearly. Both your dental hygienist and your dentist will have the opportunity to catch and address any dental issues before they become a bigger problem. And, of course, we count on you to visit us as necessary in between your regularly scheduled visits.

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Other Questions You Might Have About A Chipped Tooth

Can veneers be used to treat a chipped tooth?

Yes, veneers can be used to treat a chipped tooth. Veneers are a suitable treatment option when dealing with relatively minor chips or cracks in the front teeth. Rather than repairing the chip directly, a veneer is designed to cover up the imperfection, effectively hiding it from view. Unlike extensive preparations needed for a dental crown, veneers offer a less invasive alternative in which minimal tooth preparation is required. This involves the dentist taking an impression of your teeth and sending it to a lab for the custom creation of the veneer. Once ready, the veneer is then cemented onto the chipped tooth, restoring its appearance and providing a natural looking result.

What is an onlay and how does it differ from a crown?

An onlay is a dental restoration that covers a portion of a tooth’s surface, similar to a filling but different from a crown. Unlike a crown, an onlay does not extend over the entire tooth. However, similar to a crown, an onlay needs to be created in a dental laboratory before it can be placed by the dentist.

To fabricate an onlay, the dentist may need to take an impression of the patient’s teeth, just like they would for a crown. This impression is then sent to a dental lab where the onlay is custom-made to fit the specific tooth. Once the onlay is ready, the dentist cements it onto the prepared tooth structure.

Compared to a dental crown, an onlay requires less extensive preparation of the natural tooth structure. This means that less healthy tooth material needs to be removed before placing the onlay. In contrast, a crown typically requires more tooth reduction to create space for the restoration.

An onlay is a conservative dental restoration that covers a portion of a tooth’s surface. It is different from a crown as it doesn’t extend over the entire tooth and requires less preparation. However, like a crown, it is custom-made in our office before being cemented onto the tooth by our dentist.

Is a chipped tooth a dental emergency?

A chipped tooth can typically be considered a dental emergency if it is causing significant pain or if it has exposed the inner layers of the tooth. However, if the chipped tooth is not causing any discomfort and the inner layers are not exposed, it may not necessarily be considered a dental emergency. Nonetheless, due to the uneven appearance of the chipped tooth, it may still be preferable to seek prompt professional dental treatment in order to have it fixed as soon as possible.

What causes a chipped tooth?

A chipped tooth can be caused by various factors, most commonly due to some form of physical trauma to the mouth, such as a fall or a strong impact. Additionally, biting down on hard substances can also lead to a chip. It’s worth noting that even healthy teeth can be susceptible to chipping, although tooth decay can increase the likelihood of a chip occurring.


Do you have a chipped tooth?

Make an appointment today so that we can preserve your natural tooth!

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Houston Symmes

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