Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, but it can still become cracked or chipped due to injury. People often chip or break teeth when biting down on hard food such as ice, nuts or hard candies. It is also becoming a more common injury from metal straws. Chipped teeth can cause discomfort and lead to serious infections. Dr. Mark S. Jefferies is a Herndon, VA cosmetic dentist who wants you to know your options for handling a chipped tooth before it becomes a serious issue.
What to Do for a Chipped ToothIf you find yourself with a chipped, broken or fractured tooth, it’s important to visit Dr. Jefferies or your local dentist as soon as possible. If you wait, your chipped tooth could become even more damaged and require much more extensive treatment. Worse yet, the damaged tooth could become infected, resulting in serious health risks and possible tooth loss.
Can You Treat A Chipped Tooth at Home?Until you are able to see a dentist, you can try the following self-care measures:
- Manage the pain by taking acetaminophen, ibuprofen or another type of over-the-counter pain reliever.
- Rinse your mouth out with salt water to reduce the risk of infection.
- If the chipped tooth has a jagged or sharp edge, cover it with a piece of sugarless chewing gum or wax paraffin to protect your tongue and cheek.
- Eat only softer foods and do not bite down on the damaged tooth until it has been treated by a dentist.
- Treat the tooth with Dentemp or a similar product, which are available at most drugstores and pharmacies. These are designed to temporarily cover a chipped tooth until you can consult with a dentist.