Chipped and cracked teeth are a frustrating occurrence that is much more common than you might think. While it’s scary to lose part of a tooth, there are tons of different ways that a dentist can fix the problem.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to fix a cracked tooth, as well as how much you can expect to pay for your procedures.
What Causes Cracked Teeth?
Teeth are the only bones that you can see on the outside of your body. Like how you can break an arm or a leg, you can definitely crack or chip a tooth in a similar way. In fact, your teeth aren’t as hard as you might think they are.
Your teeth are coated with an outer layer called enamel, which comprises the outer layer of your teeth. It’s the hardest substance in the human body, but that still doesn’t mean it's completely impenetrable. When you wear down your enamel, you open up a greater risk for your teeth to chip or crack. This is why taking care of
There are a few other reasons why your teeth might crack. Other common causes include:
If you don’t keep up with a regular schedule of brushing and flossing, it can cause your tooth enamel to wear away. When this happens, your teeth will naturally become weaker and more susceptible to chips and cracks. Be sure to brush twice a day and floss daily.
Sometimes, a tooth can break simply due to blunt physical force. If you get hit by a baseball, walk into a door, or even bite down on a fork a little bit too hard — you can chip your teeth.
Biting on Hard Objects
Speaking of biting on a fork too hard, other hard objects can break your teeth. This includes foods like the pits of fruits, hard candies, or popcorn kernels. Additionally, trying to bite open a package or chewing on plastic can lead to chipped teeth.
Calcium and fluoride are two important nutrients for teeth health. Calcium ensures that your bones are nice and strong, while fluoride strengthens the tooth’s hard outer surface to protect against cavities. If you’re not getting enough of these nutrients, it can weaken your teeth and make them chip easily.
Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is a condition that many people have and might not even be aware of. Grinding your teeth often occurs in your sleep, which can wear away your enamel, exposing the more brittle parts of your teeth. Over time, this can make the top and bottom parts of your teeth more prone to cracks.
What To Do if You Chip a Tooth
It can be scary if you chip a tooth, but knowing what to do right away can help you avoid some serious complications down the line.
The first order of business is to rinse your mouth with warm water. Use warm water rather than hot water because your cracked tooth will be very sensitive to temperature. This step can keep irritants away from the tooth and clear away any blood.
Speaking of blood, if you’re experiencing bleeding from your crack, you can use gauze and apply pressure to the area to form a clot and stop the bleeding. You can then apply an ice pack to the area of your face where the tooth cracked to bring down swelling and reduce the pain.
You can also take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever to manage the swelling, but be mindful of using Aspirin or Ibuprofen if you’re experiencing major bleeding.
You then want to see your dentist right away. Most dentists have emergency hotlines for situations just like this. With these, a dentist can either come into the office to help you, or they can recommend a location where you can get 24/7 dental care. If you can visit a dentist within the first few hours of your chip, they have a greater chance of being able to fix it without long-term damage.
If you can, preserve the chip. Often, if you have the piece of your tooth that cracked off, it can be successfully reattached. Put the tooth in milk or saliva to prevent it from drying out until you’re able to make it to the dentist. Don’t worry if you can’t: There are other treatment options available.
How To Fix a Chipped Tooth
The way that a dentist can fix a chipped or cracked tooth depends on how severe the damage is.
Minor damage to your tooth can usually be easily fixed with a procedure called a filling. Fillings are a common procedure used to replace infected material of a tooth that has been affected by tooth decay or cavities. But they can also be used to restore the structure of your tooth following small instances of damage.
Filling, or bonding, is a simple procedure that can be done right in a dentist’s office. First, the dentist roughens the surface of the tooth to make it easier for the bonding material to stick.
Next, an adhesive is placed over the area before a tooth-colored resin fills in the chips or cracks. Ultraviolet light is then used to harden the material and make it stick.
Just because a chip is small doesn’t mean it won’t progress into something a little more serious. Be sure to seek help and treatment after small chips to get them fixed up right away and reduce the risk of potential problems.
If a chip is more major and a lot of the structure of your tooth has been removed, it might require a little bit more effort. The challenge with a large chip is the risk of infection in the tooth’s inner pulp.
If you’re able to hold onto the piece of the chipped tooth that fell off, it can likely be reattached through the same bonding practice as a minor chip. However, if you can’t find the chip — that’s okay! There are other options.
A common fix is a dental crown, which is sort of like a tiny cap that goes over your tooth. The remaining part of your tooth is filed down to make room for a tooth-shaped crown that is placed and cemented on top. This restores the structure and function of your tooth even if you have a large chip.
If a chip is so severe that the remaining tooth cannot be saved, it will likely need to be extracted in order to prevent infection. Even if a tooth is extracted, it can be rectified with a dental implant, dentures, or a dental bridge.
The Cost of Fixing a Cracked Tooth
The cost of the treatments listed above varies. Typically, the more severe the damage is, the more costly it will be to fix your chip.
For instance, simple dental bonding or a filling is usually anywhere from $200 to $600. (Compare this to the cost of a dental crown which ranges anywhere from $1,100 to $1,300.) If worse comes to worst, a tooth extraction paired with a dental implant can hit prices upwards of $2,000 in total.
So as you can see, it’s not cheap to fix a chip. While most dental insurance companies will cover most or all of the cost of restorative procedures to fix chips and cracks, over 33% of the American population is without dental insurance.
How To Get High-Quality Dental Care Without Dental Insurance
You shouldn’t be stuck paying isnae prices out of pocket because you don’t have insurance. Flossy is a pay-as-you-go service where you only pay for the services you receive. Since we can save you up to 50% on the out-of-pocket costs of typical dental treatments, you can save even more.
From dental fillings to routine cleanings, from root canals to bridges, book your appointment through an easy-to-use smartphone app. Plus, there’s no membership fee or annual premiums, meaning the price you see is always the price you pay.
While it might sound too good to be true, rest assured that our dentists are vetted against a set of rigorous criteria, like excellent patient reviews and licensure from accredited dental programs. So just because our prices are low doesn’t mean that the quality of care is.
There’s no waiting period to get started, so head on over to see a dentist in your area and get started toward the perfect smile.
Do You Need to See a Dentist for a Chipped Tooth?
If you get a minor chip, you might think that you don’t need to go through the effort of seeing a professional for assistance. The thing is, small chips in your teeth can open the door for a lot worse problems down the line. Once a chip threatens the enamel on your teeth, it makes it much easier for more damage to occur.
A chipped tooth might be worse than it looks, and it could threaten the inside of your tooth, known as the pulp. If the pulp is exposed to bacteria, it can become infected. This means lots of pain and discomfort as well as the risk of potentially serious complications like sepsis. Not to mention, the tooth can decay over time, and you might eventually need to get the tooth pulled.
Even if you experience a small crack, it never hurts to visit a dentist – especially when you can save up to 50% on your treatment with Flossy.
Cracked and chipped teeth are a lot more common than you might think. They can be caused by physical trauma as well as infection, biting down too hard, or even teeth grinding. Either way, there are a few ways that chips and cracks can be fixed.
A minor cracked tooth can be alleviated with dental bonding or a filling. However, more major instances might need something a little stronger – like crowns, veneers, or even tooth replacement. No matter what you get, the price can be pretty high.
Insurance can cover the cost of emergency care, but if you don’t have insurance – don’t stress. Flossy is made for people without insurance, and we can save you up to 50% on common dental treatments, from routine cleanings to bonding. Download the Flossy App and reach out to an affordable, world-class dentist today.
Bruxism (teeth grinding) - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
Fluoride & Dental Health | NIH
When teeth get damaged | Harvard Health
Regional Variation in Private Dental Coverage and Care Among Dentate Adults Aged 18–64 in the United States, 2014–2017 | CDC
How hard is tooth enamel compared to other materials? | BBC Science Focus Magazine