A tooth can become chipped due to trauma or dentin weakening due to bacterial decay. The chipping can lower your self-esteem and potentially cause discomfort if the pulp inside the root canal is now exposed. Pain can increase if that pulp becomes inflamed with infection, which results in a condition called pulpitis.
A visit to the dentist's office can help treat both your chipped tooth and the underlying pulpitis. Here are a few of the potential treatments your dentist might use.
Pulpitis Treatment: Root Canal Therapy
Your dentist will want to treat the pulpitis before dealing with the largely cosmetic concerns of the chipping. Pulpitis is usually treated with root canal therapy, which removes the infected pulp and reduces the risk of pulpitis occurring again.
The root canal procedure requires your dentist to gain access to the pulp through the top of your natural tooth crown. The pulp is then carefully removed from the root canal. Your dentist will then flush the canal with an antibacterial solution before inserting a soft dental cement that will harden in place.
Cleaning and filling the canal removes the pulp and prevents more from entering through the bottom of the tooth.
Chip Treatment: Dental Crown
Your tooth is opened during the root canal procedure and will need to be closed somehow. If the chip didn't remove a significant portion of your tooth, your dentist will likely use a dental crown to seal the tooth shut.
Dental crowns are a porcelain or porcelain and metal cap that is created using a mold of your natural tooth. The surface of your tooth is lightly sanded and slathered with bonding cement that will hold the crown in place. When the crown is attached, the porcelain or porcelain and metal will now essentially form a new artificial dentin layer that can better protect your tooth.
Chip Treatment: Veneer
Did the chip take away a significant portion of your natural tooth? Your dentist might decide that a dental veneer is the better fit than a crown for your situation.
Veneers are also porcelain caps but only cover the front of your tooth. The majority of your natural tooth is filed down so that only the root canal and some surrounding dentin are preserved. The porcelain veneer is then bonded to the front of the tooth with cement to give the appearance of a cosmetically perfect natural tooth.
The porcelain of a veneer can chip if the tooth in question receives a great deal of bite force while chewing. So it is important to discuss your options and the pros and cons of each treatment ahead of any dental procedures. For more information, contact Aaron G Birch, DDS PC or a similar dental professional.