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What can the Dentist do About a Chipped Tooth?

J. Beam
J. Beam

Unfortunately, teeth are not indestructible, even with the best dental hygiene practices. Trauma to the mouth can cause an array of problems, from a chipped tooth to a tooth that is completely broken off. Cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry is a special aspect of dentistry that addresses repairs to damaged teeth. The best treatment will vary dependent on how badly the tooth is damaged.

One of the first things a dentist will do for a chipped tooth is to assess how the injury occurred, and most likely take dental X-rays. The dentist will also ask about any pain the patient may be having as a result of the injury. If there is little or no pain and the dental x-rays show no root damage, the dentist may repair the tooth in one of a few different ways.

A dentist fixing a chipped tooth.
A dentist fixing a chipped tooth.

If the tooth is only slightly chipped, the dentist may be able to file the tooth smooth again. He or she may also recommend doing nothing if the damage is very minimal, although even minor chips are often treated with either composite or porcelain veneers. Veneers are bonded directly to the tooth, giving it a smooth, natural appearance.

If a tooth is chipped badly or there is pain when chewing or drinking, it may need a crown. A crown is a cap that covers the tooth and both protects it and improves its appearance. Similarly, a badly chipped tooth may also be filled. The same fillings a dentist uses to repair a tooth damaged by cavities can also be used to repair a chip. Veneers, crowns, and fillings can all be made to match existing teeth.

When the damage turns out to be more extensive, greater repairs may be required. A damaged root may require that the tooth be extracted and replaced. If a filling, crown, or veneer becomes chipped, it will also need to be fixed.

Dental X-ray.
Dental X-ray.

Anyone who suffers trauma or injury to the mouth and who experiences damage to the teeth or pain should visit a dentist as soon as possible. Any part of the tooth that is broken off should be brought along, if possible. Sometimes, a chipped or broken tooth can be repaired easily if attention is immediate. Waiting only increases the likelihood of further deterioration caused by unseen damage.

Discussion Comments


Full dental care should be a part of Medicare/Medicaid.


My front left tooth was slightly chipped at the top and it hurts a tiny bit every once in a while. It's been days and I'm trying to convince my mother to go to the dentist but she says there is nothing wrong with my teeth, but I know there is something wrong but she won't believe me! I am very worried. What must I do?


I think I just chipped one of my teeth. I was eating a Jolly Rancher, then felt something hard against my teeth. Bit the hard thing, but I'm not completely sure whether that caused my tooth getting chipped, or it was the part of my tooth that got chipped off. I don't know what happened.


My brother (28 years old) threw a coffee mug at me (close impact) because he was hungry and it chipped off half of my top left front tooth. Now that is something.


I have two broken teeth, but neither give me any pain. The dentist wants to do a root canal on one of them, but I am scared as hell of needles and I don't tolerate pain very well.

He said the only other way is to pull it, but that would leave a big hole in my smile because it is a front tooth, not a back one.


I was feeding a horse I had just bought and she tried to bite me. Her bottom row of teeth hit my top front teeth and chipped both of my front ones!


My tooth is cracked. I was just lying down and I felt it. I don't know what happened.


I was in the VIP are of a night club, drinking champagne out of the magnum bottles. I woke up the next day and realized I had chipped my tooth. Good times.


I think the hygienist chipped my tooth in the last cleaning. It's been a week and it still hurts.


one tooth at the side of my mouth got chipped when i slipped in the shower and banged my chin on the side. it chipped my tooth but that was like two weeks ago and i did not go to the dentist and it just came out today but there is still a little part stuck in my gum and i cannot get it out. what should i do?


i have a little hole on my right front tooth.

i wonder if it is a chip or if it has always been like that. i hope it was always like that.


I slammed my brother into a wall and he turned me around and slammed me into the wall, and two of my teeth chipped a tiny bit, but it hurts a lot, and I'm not just being dramatic. What do I do?


I was drinking a beer at a popular club. The beer was Becks and it was in a green bottle, and was basically 7/8ths full of beer. The music was powerful and strong at the same time. A lady nearby danced into my elbow and knocked the beer bottle into my tooth.

I felt a fragment of what I thought was broken glass in my mouth, but looking down at my bottle I realized that was not the cause of the sensation in my mouth.I spat a chunk of tooth into my hand, my friends were aghast at my altered visage.


i was at school and i was walking down the corridor and someone pushed me. i was talking to my friend at the time and i fell and chipped half of one of my big teeth at the front and I'm supposed to be getting braces soon. what should i do? please help me.


I have a slightly chipped molar. It started out being a thin, sharp, weak part of the molar. But then I was feeling at it and a tiny piece broke off. I am pretty sure it'll be either smoothed down or filled. But because I feel a little pain I think it'll be filled.


i thought my tooth was loose but come to find out it was chipped and i don't think the tooth has came out yet so I'm going to see if it hadn't came out yet, but i think it's going to be okay.


i accidentally ran into on a staircase at my school. i chipped one of my front teeth. Luckily i got it filled in the next day. it does not hurt but it it definitely annoying. Is there a way to make it less annoying and make it feel like my real tooth again?- Hieee


i was playing with my two year old on christmas eve and my son threw his new toy at my front right tooth and half of my tooth cracked in half. Now I'm in pain and I'm definitely going to the dentist.


well i chipped my right front tooth skating. It really hurts when i breathe because it gets super cold and I think the nerve is exposed.

If you want, put gum over it and if you still have the other half you can stick it back on with super glue while you go out or to school, but after a while the glue will be more noticeable and your tooth less normal. my advice is go to the dentist.


I chipped half of my right front tooth off because my brother hit it with a Verizon controller and when I breathe in air it hurts because it gets super cold and I think the nerve is exposed so if you have the same situation as me, just put gum over the chipped part so the cold air doesn't keep hurting it.


I chipped my tooth on tile floor. It's very minor but it hurts. Should I just leave it or should I go to the dentist?


was eating candy and it was hard candy. i happened to chomp down on the candy a wrong way and the tooth in the back one of my teeth in the back broke off and left a hole in one side of the tooth.

the hole hurts when i eat chips and sometimes i bite into chips and it's very painful! But I'd rather not go to a dentist and go through getting a needle and being in pain where i fear needles. I'd rather just die with the pain. --Amanda


I busted half my right top tooth off on tile floor, and a quarter of my left. What will I need to get, and will it hurt? Q.Q


I chipped both tips of my two front teeth from getting hit by a bread pan at work. do i get it bonded or get veneers?


i was eating rice and my wisdom tooth broke in half. can i know what's the reason? it was fine with no cavities on the tooth.


one of my teeth chipped (minor) when i was taking out my retainer.What should i do?


I live in Illinois, and have an AllKids insurance. I am 16 years old. i chipped my upper front tooth and it's been three years. I chipped it by running upwards a slide and i slipped. Fell on my jaw and the tooth chipped(cracked). I am wondering if there are any dentists that will fix my tooth with my insurance covering the costs.


very helpful.


I was playing airsoft to win an airsoft handgun because i never had one before and just like that, i got shot on the front left tooth and it cracked in half. it hurts when i eat and drink. What can the dentist do?


okay, i was playing airsoft and a pellet hit my front tooth and now there is a small piece missing, that i have in a ziplock bag. what can the dentist do and will it involve getting those numbing shots?


I went to get my braces off and when i did they had trouble getting the one part off and messed up many times, so in the end she hit my tooth and chipped a very small piece off. i didn't notice until later when i licked my tooth and cut my tongue. What should I do?


I kicked a door into my friend's face. Unfortunately, it chipped one of her front teeth and the other is cracked. Am I a bad friend? Help me. Door Kicker


OK, i just accidentally chipped my moms tooth, and i'm afraid she's going to ground me, so can someone please tell me if having an extremely small chip filled in one of the front teeth hurts?


I chipped my tooth at the top, and it is very sensitive to what I eat and drink. I just want to know what I should do to take care of it before I get my procedure on it.


I have had a chipped tooth for nearly four years now. Our dentist recommends that we wait as long as possible. It Is nearly half of my tooth, and it never had pain? Our dentist had put on a cap on, but it quickly fell off. What can I do?


my son was on the snow hill the other day with the GT snow racer and yup, you guessed it -- he went over backward and the GT came back and slapped him in the mouth, breaking not one, but two front teeth. one of them was bad enough to warrant a root canal and post and crown. not too sure what they are going to do about the second tooth, as he looks like a snaggle tooth wonder.

his mouth is a little swollen and tender but all in all, he did quite well. the big test will be tomorrow when he goes back to the dentist for the post and crown.


I fell and chipped half my front tooth. I was just wondering what i need to get the first two days? it was sore when i drink anything or eat.


I went to the dentist today and got a filling in my front tooth as it had a minor chip. It wasn't painful at all and it only took half an hour. Thank god for dentists. ^^


i recently got kneed in the jaw in mma and wasn't wearing my mouthguard (grappling). and there is a minor chip in my tooth and there is no pain? what do i do?


Hi, I would like to join C.T. Anonymous. About an hour ago, I was driving my car while eating Extreme Jawbreakers, when I heard a vicious crack. To no surprise it was small fragments of my tooth. So I became enraged, cause I have never had a cavity or anything and threw them out of the window. Now I feel incomplete!


I have a chipped tooth and the chipping seems to be decolourising my tooth. What do you suggest i do?


hi i have braces on right at this moment and i have 2 chipped teeth at the front.It is not really bad my 2 chipped teeth and it feels normal. There is not any pain. what do you reckon is going to happen?


The crack in the front teeth (mentioned above) is most likely a normal occurrence formed by the formation of the tooth by two developmental lobes which fuse together and form the tooth. If you shine a light on your teeth, often you can see it quite easily.


I have the same thing and I have been to the dentist and they do not seem to be concerned. I have it for a long time now. It does look like it might crack in half, but I think it is nothing to be concerned about...hopefully :) I have no problem with it myself.


one of my front teeth seems to be cracked...i can see a slight crack running from the top, down. i wonder if it can crack all the way through, and if the dentist can apply some sort of a seal to avoid this?

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    • A dentist fixing a chipped tooth.
      By: michaeljung
      A dentist fixing a chipped tooth.
    • Dental X-ray.
      Dental X-ray.
    • A cross section of a tooth.
      By: Andrea Danti
      A cross section of a tooth.
    • A chipped tooth may cause pain when chewing.
      By: chuugo
      A chipped tooth may cause pain when chewing.
    • Cosmetic and reconstructive dentists can restore chipped teeth to their original appearance.
      By: Stasique
      Cosmetic and reconstructive dentists can restore chipped teeth to their original appearance.
    • Chipped teeth may be treated with porcelain veneers to give someone a more natural look.
      By: Sulabaja
      Chipped teeth may be treated with porcelain veneers to give someone a more natural look.