Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the body. Many parents know that random, unfortunate events can cause their child’s tooth to chip or break. Dentists see over 22,000 pediatric dental trauma cases, including chipped teeth, every year.
The treatment for a chipped tooth depends on the type, severity of the damage, and the tooth’s current condition. Many repairs can be done in a short office visit. But what may look like a slight fracture could lead to major issues later. A dental exam can detect damage you won’t see otherwise.
How Can I Care For My Child’s Chipped Tooth?
When your child or teenager chips their tooth, remain as calm as possible. This will help them cooperate and make treatment easier. Have your child rinse their mouth with salt water to help prevent infection. If the chipped tooth has a sharp edge, cover it with sugar-free chewing gum to keep it from cutting the tongue, lip, or cheek. If you can find the chipped piece, store it in cold milk, wet gauze, or an ADA-approved tooth preservation product.
The impact on your child’s chipped tooth may have traumatized blood vessels and nerves inside the chipped tooth. As a result, that tooth could become further damaged or infected, requiring longer and more expensive procedures. Let your children’s dentist check it out as soon as possible.
How Will a Dentist Treat My Child’s Chipped Tooth?
Once your children’s dentist examines your child’s chipped tooth, they can discuss the best treatment option to maintain the tooth’s integrity. For tiny chips, the dentist may only have to file the tooth down. More severe breaks may call for:
- Bonding: a common, cost-effective treatment. The dentist applies a composite resin to the tooth’s surface to fill in the chipped area; or
- Veneers: an expensive but permanent solution for large chips. The dentist affixes resin or porcelain coverings to the front of the tooth.
Can My Child or Teen Eat With a Chipped Tooth?
If your child gets hungry or thirsty before seeing the dentist, they should be able to tolerate liquids and soft foods. Avoid temperature extremes, especially if there is pain. Encourage your child not to bite down on the chipped tooth.
Should I Take My Child to the Hospital?
Most emergency rooms cannot accommodate dental emergencies, so a trip to the hospital should be the last resort. Cultivating and maintaining a relationship with a children’s dentist is the best way to ensure a quick response to your child’s chipped tooth. Your children’s dentist should have an emergency number you can call after hours or on weekends.
How Can I Reduce the Risk of My Child Getting Chipped Teeth?
Events that cause chipped teeth are sometimes a matter of chance. However, the following precautions can help protect your child from chipped teeth:
- Encourage your child to avoid chewing ice cubes, hard candy, or popcorn kernels, which can stress teeth
- Insist on the proper use of protective equipment for sports and recreation
- Make sure your child or teen understands and follows coaching and training on proper techniques
- Watch for self-harming behaviors and involvement in hazardous or violent activity
- Limit your child’s consumption of sugary foods and drinks, which contribute to tooth decay
- Encourage your child not to use their teeth as tools for opening containers, tearing off tags, or cracking nutshells
If your child is experiencing a chipped tooth, don’t wait, contact our dental office today and let us help restore your child’s smile.