Chipped A Front Tooth? What Are Your Best Repair Options?

Posted on: 20 May 2016


Because your front teeth take the majority of impact from biting on food, drinking from bottles, or even chewing on fingernails, chipping a front tooth is a relatively common dental issue. However, when you find yourself facing an unsightly chipped tooth in your own mirror, you may be frantic and wondering what you can do to repair this issue as quickly as possible. Fortunately, advances in dental technology have given dentists more options than ever before to repair minor to major chips. Read on to learn more about the steps you can take to quickly and inexpensively restore your chipped tooth to like-new condition.

What are the best repair options for a front tooth that has chipped? 

Often, the right choice for your tooth depends on the cause and extent of damage. For example, if your tooth was a healthy tooth that developed a small chip following direct impact (like hitting the edge of a drinking glass), it can likely be repaired much more easily than a tooth that has pre-existing damage like thin enamel that could cause it to crack along the chip line. More minor damage can usually be repaired through dental bonding or an enamel filling, while larger chips may require a veneer or crown.

For small to medium chips on the edge of a healthy tooth that are slightly too large to simply be ground down, dental bonding is likely your quickest and most cost-effective option. This procedure involves the placement of a tooth-colored resin in the chipped spot. This resin is then treated with an ultraviolet light that seamlessly bonds it to your natural tooth. This bonding can usually be performed in a single office visit and is a service offered by most dental practices, making it a quick and easy way to restore your tooth's appearance before anyone else can even notice the chip.

For larger chips, a dental veneer may be a better option. Veneers are also ideal for chips in teeth with prior enamel erosion, as the veneer will fit over the weakened areas and prevent further damage. This veneer is a thin layer of ceramic or porcelain that affixes over your natural tooth like a glove. A veneer can sometimes be installed in a single office visit, but may require two -- one for your tooth to be ground down and the veneer to be measured and fitted, then a second appointment for the veneer to be placed and fused to your tooth.

Although veneers are a bit more expensive than the materials used for dental bonding, a high quality veneer should last for years with minimal maintenance. If you're only having a single tooth treated, you can expect to pay between $925 and $2,500 for a composite veneer.

When may tooth replacement be a better choice?

In some cases, a chipped tooth may be damaged beyond repair, and investing in bonding or a veneer may be a waste of money if you eventually have to have your tooth re-repaired. If this is the case, you may want to consider a root canal and crown to help minimize any further damage to your tooth. 

A root canal and crown procedure is most often used when there has been damage to the root of the tooth and it's likely this root will soon die. This can happen if the tooth is struck directly or if an untreated cavity has allowed infection to set in around the root. Repairing this tooth with dental bonding or a veneer may not be effective; once the root dies, your tooth will turn gray and may become loose. Having the tooth's root excised and a protective porcelain crown placed over the remaining tooth structure should give you the strength and appearance you're seeking.

For more information, talk to a dentist like Richard M Holmes DMD PA.