385 N. Grant St. Canby, Oregon 97013

385 N. Grant St. Canby, Oregon 97013

Help! What Do I Do to Fix My Chipped Tooth?

It’s happened to many people: They bite down on something hard or just bite down incorrectly, and they hear a pop. They look in the mirror and see it — a chipped tooth. It’s not an uncommon occurrence, but it could be a painful one. If deep enough, chips in teeth can damage the tooth’s living portion underneath the enamel — the hard, protective outer shell. Damage to the tooth’s interior could lead to infection and tooth loss. That’s why it’s essential to check and fix a chipped tooth as soon as possible. 

Ohana Orthodontics knows that damaged teeth can cause more problems than not looking great. We want you to have the perfect smile, which is why we encourage our patients to check on their chipped teeth. Here’s what it means to have a chipped tooth and what you can do to fix it.

What Causes Your Chipped Tooth?

Chipped teeth can happen in several ways. Some are preventable, but others happen unexpectedly. Whatever the case, these events can cause your chipped tooth.

  • Sports injuries are a common cause of chipped teeth, mainly front teeth. You can reduce or prevent chipped teeth by wearing a mouthguard whenever you play sports, whether you have braces or not. A hit to the mouth can chip your tooth, loosen it, or cut the inside of your mouth on your braces. Any of these can be painful and should be checked by your dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible.  
  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can cause chipped teeth. Teeth grinding often happens when you’re asleep, so you may not even realize you’re doing it. You may wake up with a sore jaw, joint or neck pain, or a chipped tooth. 
  • Hard candies or ice can cause chipped teeth. Those “jaw-breaker” candies can actually break your teeth, especially if you have weakened enamel from a lack of good oral hygiene. Eating ice can chip your tooth, too. 
  • Falls or accidents are another big cause of chipped teeth. Accidents happen, unfortunately, and can cause chipped teeth. While there isn’t much we can do to prevent most accidents; there are things we can do to repair the damage. That includes taking care of damage to your teeth. 
ohana orthodontics canby or smiles 2

Signs You’ve Chipped Your Tooth

In many cases, it’s easy to figure out you have chipped your tooth. You can see a part of the tooth is missing. But chipped teeth aren’t always that obvious. The chips may be tiny and hard to see. The chip may be more like a crack, which can be very difficult to see. There are other ways to determine whether you’ve chipped a tooth. 

  • Tongue irritation. A chip in your tooth may irritate your tongue because it may rub against the chip’s rough edge. In addition to cutting your tongue, a sharp tooth may also irritate the inside of your cheeks or lips. If your tongue or lips become red, cut, or irritated, check with your dentist or orthodontist to see if you have a chipped tooth.
  • Tooth pain. You may feel pain in the tooth when you bite. The pain may be mild, or it may be severe if the interior of the tooth is exposed.
  • Gum redness. Your gums may be irritated around the chipped tooth.

What Do I Do About My Chipped Tooth?

What happens if you chip a tooth? What if part of the tooth that tries to fall out is attached to braces? Can you crack your teeth with braces? If you don’t have braces, your first step after chipping a tooth is to call your dentist. The dentist will examine your tooth and let you know what type of repair is necessary and whether you need it done immediately or later. A slight chip to the enamel that doesn’t penetrate the living center of the tooth doesn’t need immediate treatment. A significant chip, crack or break that damages the dentin or pulp — the living center — could cause an infection and should be treated immediately. 

You need to call your orthodontist right away if you chip a tooth and have braces. It’s possible that whatever chipped your tooth could have damaged your braces, too. Those will need to be repaired along with your tooth. We can also work with your dentist to fix a tooth that’s been knocked loose but is still in place because of your braces. 

Will wearing braces increase your chances of chipping your tooth? Can braces break your teeth? The answer to both questions is no. You can still crack or chip your teeth with braces. They might offer slight protection against damage, but for the most part, if something is strong enough to crack your teeth, your braces probably aren’t going to help much. 

ohana orthodontics smiles canby or 3

Tips to Deal With Teeth Trauma

You know you need to call your dentist or orthodontist when you chip your tooth, but what can you do before you get there? What if your tooth is hurting? What if the jagged edge is cutting into your tongue or lip? We have a few tips that may help. 

Dental Wax on a Chipped Tooth

A chipped tooth can irritate your tongue or cheek. Dental wax can relieve that irritation by providing a smooth surface over the tooth. You can find dental wax at major retailers and pharmacies. 

To use the dental wax, you pinch off a pea-sized piece and roll it between your thumb and forefinger to soften it. Then place it over the jagged edge and mold it to the tooth. The wax should stay in place until you take it out for eating. Put new wax on when you’re finished. Never reuse dental wax. 

Dental Wax on Broken Braces

Dental wax can protect your mouth from a broken wire, bracket, and tooth if you have braces. You should have dental wax available since it’s a standard tool to prevent irritation with braces. Use dental wax on the braces and tooth until you see your orthodontist. 

Preventing Infection in a Broken Tooth

Whether your tooth gets infected depends on the severity of the break, crack, or chip in your tooth. It could get infected quickly with a severe break or crack, or it could take months if the break barely penetrates the interior of the tooth. Here’s how to reduce your risk of infection until you see your dentist. 

  • Keep the tooth clean. You need to keep your mouth as clean as possible, which may mean increasing the number of times you brush daily. Clean your teeth after every meal to prevent food particles from penetrating the tooth.
  • Rinse your mouth. Rinse your mouth after food or drink if you can’t brush. Use warm water, if possible, but not too warm. A broken tooth may be more sensitive to hot and cold.
  • Cover the tooth. Try covering the tooth with dental wax to protect it, especially if the dentin or pulp is exposed.
ohana orthodontics smiles canby or 2

Repairing a Broken Tooth

Your dentist has several options to repair a broken tooth. If the chip or crack is minor, your dentist may fill the chip like he would a cavity if it’s a molar. If it’s a front tooth, he may use a dental bond, a special resin painted on the tooth.

A tooth with severe damage will require more extensive repair. A crown or veneer may be used to cover the tooth and make it look whole again. 

Getting Your Tooth and Braces Fixed

Chipping or cracking a tooth can be scary, but there’s no need to panic or worry. It’s not as uncommon as you think; we can treat it and save your smile. Contact Ohana Orthodontics immediately if you have a problem with your teeth or braces. We will take care of you!

ohana cta 2 gold v3