A chipped tooth needs to be examined and treated quickly to avoid it becoming a bigger problem. A mere hairline crack in the outer protective layer of enamel due to an accident can expose the more vulnerable inner layers and the tooth could become decayed or even result in a dead root and the need for root canal therapy.
Chipping can occur from a wide variety of causes: an car or bike crash, a fall, a blow to the face playing sports, chewing on a pen, pulling off clothes with your teeth, munching on ice, tearing at jerky, eating nuts, hard candy, bones, nuts, hard breads like pretzels, corn on the cob, popcorn with unpopped kernels, or fruits and vegetables with pits.
If the chip is painful and sensitive, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers until you come into our office. If there is any bleeding, put a cold pack on and off every 15 minutes for a couple of hours to prevent swelling, and rinse your mouth with salt water to reduce the risk of infection. Eat soft foods and avoid chewing in the area of the injured tooth. Dentemp is a product available at most drug stores to temporarily treat a chipped tooth.
Once Dr. Louie has examined the tooth he will recommend the appropriate solution. If the chip is relatively minor, he may feel that it can be covered and the tooth strengthened by placing a veneer on the front, a very thin piece of biocompatible dental porcelain. This can be exactly matched to the shade of the neighboring teeth so no one will know it was ever harmed. He will use our iTero scanner to create a 3D image of the area to be treated and send this to a top dental lab to craft the veneer. On a second visit, the veneer will be fitted and attached.
If the chip is more of a crack that could endanger the health of the entire tooth, Dr. Louie may feel that it is better to cover it with a crown, a cap to hold it together that also is made to appear exactly like one of your natural teeth.
If you are concerned about any current or potential dental issues, call to set up an appointment for a thorough exam in Los Angeles and Larchmont Village to explore your best options for creating the perfect smile.
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