Two Options For Restoring Your Chipped Front Tooth

If you chip one of your front teeth while munching on ice or after a bad fall, you may be wondering what your options are for repairing the damage. It's a good idea to see your dentist as soon as you can to make sure the remaining part of your tooth is stable and not in danger of breaking off or decay from cracks in the enamel. Your dentist will probably recommend you get a crown or a veneer. Here's how the two options differ.

Dental Crowns Add Stability

If a large part of your tooth was chipped off, the rest of your tooth may be weak and vulnerable, especially if it is decayed too. If that's the case, the best way to repair the damage is probably with a crown. A dental crown fits over your entire tooth like a cap. It can change the shape and color as well as add stability. If your tooth chipped because of decay, then a dental crown may be your only option. That's because to get a filling or other dental procedure, you have to have enough healthy tooth to hold the dental material in place.

When you get a dental crown, you have a few options. If the only damage is a chip, the dentist may just put on the crown. If you also have decay and infection in the root of your tooth, the dentist may need to do a root canal before placing on the crown. Another option is to pull the damaged tooth and then have an implant inserted into your gum that holds the crown securely in place.

Getting a dental crown usually takes at least two dental visits because dental crowns are custom made to match the color and shape of your other teeth. Your dentist makes a mold of your mouth on the first visit and then you'll need to allow time for the dental lab to make your crown before you return for the next visit. Your dentist may be able to put in a temporary crown made of acrylic while you wait for your permanent crown to be made.

A Veneer Makes Cosmetic Improvements

If the only problem with your tooth is a small to medium sized chip, and the tooth is otherwise healthy, then your dentist may be able to put on a veneer instead. A veneer is a type of cosmetic treatment intended to improve the appearance of your tooth. It is a thin porcelain shell that fits over your tooth so the chipped area is covered. It can be shaped to hide a chip and improve color, but it does not add structural support.

A veneer is also made in a dental lab, so getting one requires two visits. In order to attach the veneer, your dentist has to remove a very thin layer of enamel from your tooth so the veneer fits in your mouth perfectly. The veneer is then cemented into place, and it blends in with your other teeth, so no one will ever know you had a chip.

If the chip in your tooth makes you feel embarrassed when you smile, or if it has made your tooth sensitive, you should visit your dentist and discuss your options. You don't want to lose your tooth or allow decay to get worse because you put off seeking treatment.