By Susan Braden
Chipped teeth are a common problem for Americans. Many of the foods that we eat contain solid ingredients such as seeds, nuts, and occasionally bones, which can be very adept at chipping and breaking teeth. The repair of chipped teeth can often mean less than affordable dental work. How can you get affordable dental enamel repair once your enamel chips or breaks? While every oral situation may be different, here are 4 common fixes for chipped or broken teeth.
Occasionally, a chip in your enamel will be small enough to be unnoticeable to the eye. However, even a small chip can eventually lead to a sharp point on your tooth – a point definitely noticeable to your tongue! In this situation, a dentist can often file and polish slightly to knock off the sharp edge. This filing process is the most affordable dental option for chipped teeth – if your chip is this small, then there may be no other work needed.
Resin-based composite is the name of the white material commonly used in fillings. If your missing chip is large enough to be seen but does not reach the tooth's roots, a dentist can often rebuild your tooth using a resin composite. The composite can be shaded to match the regular color of your enamel, to fit in with the rest of your teeth. This process is often referred to as “bonding,” an affordable dental option compared to the more extensive work required to fix severe chips.
If a larger portion of your tooth has been compromised, a dentist may need to cap it with a crown – a hard, protective cover which fits over the top of your broken tooth. In order for a dentist to place a crown, you must have enough of the original tooth remaining for the crown to attach to. The crown will keep your enamel from chipping further, and will protect the remaining broken part.
In some cases, your tooth may break off to the point that a composite or a crown cannot be used. If your tooth is broken or cracked to this extent, your dentist may have to pull your tooth, then add a replacement tooth in its place. Replacement teeth can be added in the form of a partial denture, a permanent bridge, or individual implants. Your most affordable dental option is always to save your original tooth, if possible – pulling and replacing a tooth should be your last resort. Still, while implants can be very expensive, an affordable dental plan or insurance may be able to cut the cost.
There are a number of different ways a dentist can fix or replace a broken tooth. If you currently have a chipped tooth, you should plan a visit to a certified dentist to have it checked out. Since every chip will be different, your dentist will be able to tell you more specifically what may be done to fix your broken tooth and what your next steps should be.
For more affordable dental tips from Susan Braden, see this article.