The anxiety after realizing you’ve chipped a tooth can be overwhelming. Sometimes, the chip is just a filling that comes from wear and tear. But other times, it may be a large piece of your tooth broken off due to an injury, which can be a much more severe issue.
Chips that are small and not causing any pain or sensitivity can sometimes be left alone and eventually smooth out on their own as you continue to use your teeth for biting and chewing. But if the chip is large, jagged, or causing you pain, it’s best to see a dentist right away.
Do Teeth Grow Back?
Teeth are like any other part of your body—if they’re injured, they need treatment. However, teeth don’t just heal on their own like other tissues in your body. When a bone is broken, for example, it will grow back together over time. But when a tooth is broken, it can’t grow back.
A chipped tooth can sometimes be repaired with a filling, bonding, or veneers. If the chip is large, you may need a crown. If the tooth is severely damaged, it may need to be extracted. Let’s not forget that a chipped tooth can also be a sign of a more serious underlying dental issue, such as tooth decay or gum disease. So it’s essential to see a dentist in order to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
How Do Dentists Treat a Chipped Tooth?
The type of treatment you need will depend on the size and location of the chip, as well as the severity of the damage.
If the chip is small and not causing any pain or sensitivity, your dentist may just smooth it out with a file. This is called “fracture smoothing.” Fracture smoothing is often used for chips on the chewing surfaces of teeth that are not visible when you smile.
If the chip is on a front tooth and is visible when you smile, your dentist may use bonding to repair it. Bonding is a process where a tooth-colored resin is applied to the tooth and hardened with a light. Bonding can also be used to change the shape, color, or length of your teeth.
If the chip is large, your dentist may use bonding or veneers to repair it. Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of your teeth. They can be used to change the shape, color, size, or length of your teeth.
If the chip is large and the tooth is severely damaged, you may need a crown. A crown is a “cap” that covers the entire tooth. It can be made from metal, porcelain, or a combination of both.
You may need a root canal if the chip is large and the tooth is severely damaged. A root canal is a procedure where the nerve and blood supply are removed from the tooth. The tooth is then filled with a rubber-like material and sealed.
If the chip is large and the tooth is severely damaged, you may need to have the tooth extracted and replaced with an artificial tooth.
A chipped tooth can “heal” on its own if it is a small chip and does not cause any pain or sensitivity. However, the tooth does not regrow or repair itself. It simply may smooth out over time as you continue to use your teeth for biting and chewing. If the chip is large, jagged, or causing pain, it is best to see a dentist right away for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
For cosmetic purposes, a chipped tooth can sometimes be repaired with a filling, bonding, or veneers. If the chip is large, you may need a crown. If the tooth is severely damaged, it may need to be extracted. Regardless of the issue, you can schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles dentist to determine which treatment option can work for you.