Is A Chipped Tooth Really That Serious?

If you’ve ever bitten down on something really hard, or have been hit in the mouth, you may have chipped or broken one or more teeth. While it may not hurt, your tongue may feel the sharp area pretty quickly. Minor breaks usually don’t cause any discomfort, if so it is very little, but if the break is severe enough, you may experience pain. In the case of a severe chip or break, the nerve inside of the tooth may be damaged. Extreme discomfort may also become an issue if the nerve endings in the dentin become exposed to air, or even hot or cold foods and drinks. The pain can be persistent, or it can come and go, depending on the person and the extent of the damage. Many people claim to feel pain when pressure is applied to the tooth from chewing.

Caring For A Chipped or Broken Tooth

If your tooth is cracked, there is no way of dealing with this at home, as your teeth do not grow back their lost structure. Your tooth may visually look fine, but when it comes into contact with foods at different temperatures, the pain may arise. If a tooth is broken, see your dentist as soon as possible to determine if the tooth is infected, or at risk of infection, which may indicate the need for a root canal treatment. Before you visit the dentist’s office, you may find temporary relief from the pain by trying one of the following:

  • Rinsing out your mouth with warm salt water to cleanse the area
  • Applying pressure using a piece of gauze on any bleeding areas for about 10 minutes, or at least until the bleeding stops
  • Applying a cold pack to your cheeks or lips over the broken tooth to help reduce any swelling and relieve pain
  • Over the counter pain relievers, like Tylenol and acetaminophen, may also help with pain-relief

What Your Dentist Will Do

Treating a chipped tooth depends on the severity of the damage. Minor chips and cracks can often be corrected with dental bonding, which involves placing tooth-colored composite resin onto the tooth’s surface, then sculpting and polishing it to restore the tooth’s shape. If dental bonding doesn’t suffice, then Dr. Wright or Dr. Heron will have to place a custom-made dental crown over the tooth to protect it from further damage, as well as improve its overall appearance. If the chipped, cracked, or fractured tooth has been infected with decay, then you may require a dental filling or root canal procedure before the crown can be placed. In rare, extreme cases, damaged teeth might need to be extracted to prevent damage to surrounding teeth and soft oral tissues.


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.