Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. However, there are many situations that can lead to damaged enamel. A single chipped tooth or multiple chipped teeth can affect the appearance of your smile. If left untreated, this can lead to further issues requiring more extensive repairs. Treatment needs are determined by a combination of the extent of damage and your desired final outcome.
Below is an image depicting the anatomy of our teeth. Less complicated fractures are those that involve only loss of the enamel and part of the dentin. More complicated fractures are those that expose the “pulp” of the tooth or extend below the gum line, into the root of the tooth.
Here are some of the options for treating a chipped or cracked tooth:
For small chips or cracks, we may be able to use tooth-colored filling material to rebuild your tooth. This often works best for teeth in the back of your mouth, as it may not look as natural as you would like for front teeth. However, an experienced dentist has the skills to rebuild your tooth in layers that mimic tooth enamel and dentin. This replicates nature with a seamless final result in a single visit.
See more before and after photos in our gallery.
You may want to consider cosmetic dentistry to restore the appearance of your smile if you have suffered multiple chipped or fractured teeth, old restorations to repair fractured teeth, discoloration of large or multiple or restorations, or a developmental defect that has affected the shape or color of your teeth. Often these repairs are not just cosmetic in nature, but also restore strength to your teeth. They can also improve your ability to smile and chew comfortably.
Porcelain veneers are thin shells that cover your teeth to mask cosmetic problems including short, misshapen, discolored, cracked, or chipped teeth. In most cases, we recommend porcelain veneers which are durable, match your natural teeth, and are easy to maintain. Another option, especially for younger patients, are composite veneers, which can look very natural and are minimally-invasive. A well-cared-for composite veneer can last many years but eventually needs to be upgraded to a porcelain veneer or crown as the composite materials are not durable enough to last a lifetime of chewing.
Severely Chipped Tooth
When a large portion of your tooth is missing or if you have other dental health concerns like tooth discoloration or multiple old fillings on a single tooth, more involved restorative dentistry work may be required, such as a dental crown. When a fracture extends to the nerve, or “pulp” of the tooth, a root canal is commonly required. This is followed by a crown. The need for multiple crowns also occurs from tooth chips and wear from excessive grinding or bruxism, that has shortened many or all your teeth and you wish to regain the lost tooth structure for functional or appearance reasons.
A dental crown is a ceramic cap that covers your natural tooth. It can prevent additional damage in the case of broken or decayed teeth, as well as improving the appearance of your smile. In order to place a crown, your dentist will shape the existing tooth and give you a temporary crown while a dental lab prepares the final porcelain cap. After this is complete, we will secure the permanent crown with dental cement.
Extraction and Dental Implant
In the most severe cases, it may be necessary to remove a chipped or fractured tooth. Usually this is only necessary when a large portion has been damaged, especially if a crack extends below the gum line. In these cases, you will likely need to see a dental surgeon to get an implant. We can then move forward with restorative options such as an implant crown to replace the lost tooth.
Get the Smile You Want at Skyline Dental
If you have any flaws in your smile that make you self-conscious, affect your oral health, or otherwise have a negative impact on your life, we can help. Dr. Raymond has extensive education and experience in cosmetic and restorative treatments.