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Chipped Tooth

Have questions about your chipped tooth? Our dentists took some time to share information and answer common patient questions to help educate about chipped teeth and oral health. View the table of contents below to learn more or find your question and get an answer from one of our dentists!

Dr. Mike DesRosiers

 

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers, LVIF Certified General Dentist, and has been medically reviewed for accuracy. Some relevant links have been added to audio transcripts to provide resources for additional information.

What can cause a chipped tooth?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

There’s a lot of different things that can cause a chipped tooth. It can be a restorative material that’s
failed. It can be trauma, certainly if you take a hit to your mouth while playing sports or even doing
different things during daily life. It can also happen as a result of a habit like bruxism where you’re
grinding your teeth and part of your enamel on your teeth just kind of gives way and all of a sudden
feels rough and sharp one morning and you don’t realize that anything’s happened. So there’s a lot of
different things that can cause chipped teeth.

What should you do if you chip a tooth?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

If you chip a tooth, it’s not typically an emergency in as far as something that will be very painful right
away in most cases, but you should certainly call your dentist, get in, have your dentist take a look, take
an x-ray or review your options with you and kind of take a look at getting that fixed.

How do you fix a chipped tooth?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

There’s a lot of different ways to fix chipped teeth. It really depends on the location and the severity of
the chip. Most chipped teeth would be fixed with some type of composite resin bonding where the
dentist will directly bond a composite tooth-colored filling material to your tooth to make it feel nice and
smooth and blend in and look the same. For very, very small chips, sometimes they just need to be
smoothed. They can actually be smoothed and polished and look and feel as good as new. More
involved, a deeper chip, we’re in a more precarious place. We would elect to do a porcelain restoration
like a veneer or a crown sometimes. And it just depends. So it’s something the dentist really needs to
see and kind of assess to be able to give you options and let the patient know what would be most
appropriate in that case.

How long does it take to fix a chipped tooth?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

The time that it takes to fix it is really dependent on what needs to be done. So if it’s just a place that needs to be smoothed, that can be done inside of five minutes most times. A composite resin filling takes about 20 to 30 minutes, kind of all in, in most cases. A crown you’re looking at about an hour to prepare it and then typically you need to come back and kind of deliver the permanent crown. So it would be a second visit required for a bigger chip or break in the tooth.

How much does it cost to fix a chipped tooth?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

It depends on exactly what happened to it. So the small chip that can just be smoothed, the course is a very minimal, kind of a palliative fee. So sometimes $100-ish or less. Composite resin material, if you have dental insurance and things like that, they typically will help out with any of these, but that would be somewhere in the neighborhood of maybe, $150 to $300. Crowns of course are a little bit more and veneers depending on the severity and what kind of needs to be done there. So that the cost of it really depends on the extent to which the tooth is broken and what needs to be done to fix it.

Does a chipped tooth hurt?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

That depends on the kind of depth to which it’s chipped. As the chip is deeper, the surface kind of small chips usually don’t hurt. They’re not sensitive most times, and they’ll be more rough with your tongue or that sort of thing. As more of the tooth structure breaks off and you get into the dental layer of the tooth, then you can have temperature sensitivity and even sensitivity to ambient air. So as the fracture is deeper, and of course, if it breaks into the nerve, such as a traumatic injury from a sports like a softball or baseball or hockey puck to break a front tooth or something like that would break into the nerve, that can be quite painful and require emergency care.

Can grinding your teeth cause a chipped tooth?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

Absolutely. That’s one of the most common causes of smaller chips in your teeth. We see that all the time, especially in the front teeth where part of it will level off. Where it used to be kind of rounded, all of a sudden it’s square. And then sometimes you’ll get little splinters off of a tooth like that. But yes, definitely grinding, bruxism, grinding your teeth can absolutely be a cause of chipped teeth.

Does insurance cover fixing a chipped tooth?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

Most insurances do. Every insurance is a little bit different, but most insurance companies will have coverage as long as it’s properly documented that the tooth was in fact chipped. So the dentist needs to have proper x-rays and photographs to kind of document that there was some damage to the tooth that needed to be repaired. But most often there is insurance coverage for fractured teeth.

Should I have a chip in a baby tooth fixed?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

I recommend to have chips in baby tooth addressed when it bothers the patients. So if it’s something that feels rough, if it’s a bigger chip, of course, where it’s a cosmetic issue or a sensitivity issue, absolutely yes. If it’s something smaller and the tooth is getting close to coming out anyway, it’s not necessarily something that you have to do. So it really goes to the patient’s comfort a lot of times, or to the wellbeing and longevity of the tooth. If it’s a tooth that, even a primary tooth that the patient’s going to hold onto for a couple of more years say, then that’s a lot more motivation to fix it and make sure that it’s comfortable and secure for that period of time. If it’s a chipped tooth and the tooth is going to be lost within the next month or two or three weeks, well then, we don’t typically worry too much about those as long as it’s not bothering the patient.

Can you fix a chipped front tooth?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

In many ways to fix a chipped front tooth, as we kind of talked about earlier, sometimes if it’s a small chip it just would need to be smoothed and polished. The bonded type of composite restoration would be for a little larger chip. A porcelain restoration, like a crown or a veneer would take care of the larger fractures or chips. And so once again, it just depends on the severity, but yes, in almost every case of a chipped front tooth can be fixed.

Do mouthguards prevent teeth from chipping?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

Mouthguards do prevent teeth from chipping in the event of a sports traumatic injury, that’s recommended for most sports to wear something to protect your teeth, as well as the case of bruxism. So if a patient is a known grinder, somebody that knows that they brux or grind their teeth, wearing the occlusal guard at night will absolutely help to prevent chipped teeth or cracked teeth. Not to say that it can never happen, but it tremendously decreases the likeliness of breaking it if you’re wearing an occlusal guard.

Can chewing on ice caused chipped teeth?

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers.

Dr. DesRosiers:

Chewing on ice can absolutely cause chipped teeth. It’s one of the main things that we see. Oftentimes it’s not a front tooth that breaks when you’re chewing on ice. Ice is such a strong substance that it will fracture the cusp of a posterior teeth. Most of the time, if you chip or crack a tooth from chewing on ice, it will require a porcelain restoration like a crown or an onlay.