Chipped Tooth Bonding: What You Should Know

Friday, January 11, 2019
Chipped Tooth Bonding: What You Should Know

A chipped tooth may seem like a minor inconvenience; however, chips and other fractures are leading causes of tooth loss. According to ADA Health Policy Institute polling, dentists are seeing chipped and broken teeth more frequently.

Woman sits on porch and bites into a hard cookie, a risk for chipping or fracturing her front teeth.

If you have chipped or broken teeth, you should take them seriously and receive treatment as soon as possible. Most people will visit a dentist if the fracture occurs at the mouth’s front, but doing so is just as important even if the fracture happens farther back.

Chipped tooth bonding is a common way to fix even a slightly chipped tooth. There are several ways to tell whether you have a chipped tooth, the different types of fractures that can occur, and to learn how bonding a broken tooth can help.

How Do I Know If My Tooth Is Chipped or Broken?

You may readily notice a chipped or broken front tooth. In other cases, determining your tooth’s status may not be such a straightforward matter.

Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Sudden pain in your tooth after you bite down on hard food.
  • Tooth pain that accompanies eating or changes in food or drink temperature.
  • Tooth pain that comes and goes (intermittent).
  • Swelling of your gum around an affected tooth.
  • Sensitivity to sweet foods.

You cannot treat or fix a chipped or broken tooth at home. The longer you wait to go to a dentist, the more difficult adequately repairing the tooth becomes.

Five Types of Chipped and Broken Teeth

Your teeth may have one or more of the following types of fractures. Your dentist will determine a therapeutic treatment based on the nature of the break.

Dentist uses tool to sculpt tooth-colored resin in mouth of man reclining in dental chair during chipped tooth bonding.

  • Craze lines

Tiny cracks in tooth enamel are common in adult teeth and usually shallow. You should still consult your dentist about actions you can take to prevent further damage and maintain your teeth’s integrity.

  • Fractured cusp

A fractured cusp is a tooth’s chewing surface with a missing piece. This fracture may not cause you to feel much or any pain, but you may notice chipping on the tooth’s edge.

  • Cracked tooth

When the crack in your tooth extends vertically toward the root but not below the gum line, your dentist may be able to save the tooth using root canal therapy. But if the crack reaches below the gum line, the tooth cannot be saved and must be extracted.

  • Split tooth

When a cracked tooth goes untreated, it will eventually split into two or more sections. Endodontic treatments may be able to save some of the tooth.

  • Vertical root fracture

These cracks originate from the root and extend toward the tooth’s chewing surface. Vertical root fractures often cause inflammation and infection of the surrounding gum and bone. Surgery may save a tooth, or extraction may be necessary.

A prompt diagnosis can make all the difference between saving teeth—whether through bonding a chipped tooth or some other procedure—and losing them.

The Pros and Cons of Bonding a Chipped Tooth

In many cases, tooth bonding is a cosmetic method for repairing a chipped or broken tooth. Bonding for front teeth can lead to effective results because the process involves a composite resin that matches your teeth’s color. Dental bonding is not ideal for all teeth; it’s most effective on teeth with less direct biting and chewing, like the front teeth.

When bonding a fractured tooth your dentist will:

 Woman sits in dental chair and smiles as she points with right index finger to chipped tooth repaired by bonding procedure.

  • Etch the surface of the tooth with a special gel, preparing it for adhesion with the bonding material.
  • Apply the tooth-colored resin and shape it to match the tooth exactly.
  • Use an ultraviolet light to harden the resin, which effectively seals the tooth.

What are the pros of bonding a chipped tooth?

  • It’s an effective, immediate solution.
  • It prevents infection from developing.
  • It allows you to chew normally.
  • It looks like your natural teeth.
  • It requires no special maintenance beyond normal brushing and flossing.

But consider the potential cons of bonding a chipped tooth, too:

  • The composite resin used is less durable than a porcelain veneer or a crown.
  • Because the resin covers only a portion of the tooth, it may be susceptible to future damage.
  • As the resin wears over time, you may notice a disparity in color compared to your natural tooth.

Get Attention for Your Chipped Tooth Right Away

If you suspect you have a chipped or broken tooth, it’s best to see a dentist right away.

At Penn Dental Family Practice (PDFP), we offer a wide range of treatment options for restoring your teeth. From chipped tooth bonding to placing crowns and more, our dentists know how to strengthen your teeth’s functioning while preserving and improving your smile’s appearance.
Make your appointment now by filling out our online form, or call us at 215-898-7337.