Chipped teeth are a part of everyday life. Bite into something hard or take a nasty spill and you suddenly have a chip marring your otherwise lovely smile. Fortunately, seeing a dentist can be the first step in getting the chip repaired. Dentists have three different methods available for fixing chips in teeth:
1. Dental bonding
If the chip is small, your dentist can do a quick repair with filling material the same type that would be used for a cavity. If the chipped tooth is in the front, a tooth-colored resin can be bonded to the tooth. Bonding is an extremely simple process and doesn’t even require any numbing. The surface of the tooth is slightly etched, then an adhesive is brushed on and the material is shaped to the tooth. A special light is then shined onto the tooth to allow the bonding material to cure.
2. Caps and crowns
If the chip is fairly substantial, a cap or crown may be needed to cover the area. Crowns can be made from a number of materials, including:
- porcelain that has been fused to metal
While metal crowns are the strongest, porcelain and resin caps and crowns blend right in with your teeth, and are almost impossible to notice. After numbing you, the dentist will have to remove enough of the tooth that remains to make space for the crown. An impression is made of the tooth and is then sent to a dental lab. You may receive a temporary crown until the permanent crown is ready. When your permanent crown is ready, your dentist will check the fit and then permanently bond it into place.
A chipped front tooth can be repaired by adding a veneer. Your dentist can apply this thin shell of porcelain to the entire front side of the tooth. An impression will be taken after the tooth has been prepped, and a dental laboratory will create the veneer in a process that usually takes about a week. When the veneer is ready, you return to the dentist and it is applied in a similar manner to dental bonding.