Dr. Stephen A. Price


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A Chipped Tooth is No Laughing Matter

By: | Tuesday, October 30th, 2018 | General Dentistry

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Dental Services BURKE, VAChipping a tooth can be quite an unpleasant surprise. Often, though, when a person chips a tooth, they live with it. It’s just a minor injury, right? Not necessarily. If the tooth that is injured is located in the smile line, its presence can degrade the smile. More tragic than that, a chipped tooth in the smile can severely diminish a person’s sense of confidence; so much so that their interactions with others are affected.

Anyone can Chip a Tooth

Most people are pretty careful with their teeth. We don’t meet many folks who use their teeth to open bottlecaps or tear open packages anymore. As durable as enamel is supposed to be, a rogue collision with a drinking glass or hard food might lead to an unexpected chip. Maintaining teeth with daily, conscientious oral care (including flossing!) may decrease the risk of chips by keeping enamel strong and resilient, as can avoiding soda and energy drinks.

If a tooth is chipped, it is important that a dental exam is performed to observe the severity of the injury. No two chips are alike.

Craze Lines

This type of chip affects only the enamel. It usually does not cause pain, but can create a cosmetic concern. The primary concern with craze lines, aside from their unappealing appearance, is that the jagged or sharp edges of enamel left behind could cut the tongue.

A craze line chip may be repaired in a few different ways. When the chip is so minor that the appearance of the tooth is still intact, we may only polish the edges of the tooth. A more severe chip may be covered with dental bonding or a porcelain veneer.

Broken Tooth

A severe chip fractures enamel and internal structures. This type of chip will cause pain because it will expose the nerves of the tooth. Treatment is necessary to eliminate pain and restore the tooth to a functional condition. This may involve root canal therapy and a crown, or a filling or crown on its own.

Split Root

It is possible for tooth damage to cause the root to split. Sometimes, this isn’t seen right away. The root damage can make its way to the chewing surface over time. In the meantime, the damage may cause inflammation or infection deep within the tooth. In the case of a split root, the best course of action may be to extract the damaged tooth.

Any degree of tooth damage is important to us. To schedule a consultation where we can examine a tooth injury, call (703)-935-2879.



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