What to Do If You Chip a Tooth—Immediate Steps and Restorative Options

A chipped tooth can happen to anyone, whether they are enjoying a meal, playing sports, or even just doing household chores. Not only can such an incident cause discomfort, but it can also lead to anxiety about their smile’s appearance and the health of their tooth. At Pathway Dental Group, we understand your concerns and are committed to providing quick and efficient solutions. Here is a detailed guide on what to do when you chip a tooth and the restorative options available.

Immediate Steps to Take After Chipping a Tooth

  1. Rinse Your Mouth: Start by gently rinsing your mouth with warm water. This will help clean the area and remove any food particles that could irritate the tooth further.
  2. Evaluate the Damage: If possible, examine the chipped tooth in a mirror. Understanding the extent of the chip will help you communicate with your dentist.
  3. Manage the Pain: If you have pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek near the affected area to reduce swelling and relieve discomfort. Avoid placing ice directly on your tooth, as this can worsen the pain if the nerves are exposed.
  4. Take Over-the-Counter Pain Relief: Medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate pain. Stick to the recommended dosage and avoid placing aspirin or any other medication directly against the gums, as this can burn the tissue.
  5. Cover Sharp Edges: To protect your gums and tongue from cuts, cover the chipped tooth with a sharp edge with sugar-free chewing gum or dental wax.
  6. Eat Soft Foods: Until you can get to the dentist, eat soft foods and avoid biting down on the chipped tooth.
  7. Call Your Dentist Immediately: Schedule an emergency dental appointment. Most dental practices offer same-day appointments for such emergencies. If possible, you can try to take a picture of the chipped area to send us to help us evaluate the urgency of your situation.

Dental Restorative Options for Chipped Teeth

Once you are at our office, we will assess the extent of the damage and discuss the best course of action to restore your tooth. Here are some of the common restorative options:

  1. Dental Bonding: Dental bonding is an effective solution for small and simple chips. We will apply a tooth-colored composite resin to the chipped area, sculpt it to look like a natural part of your tooth, and then cure it with ultraviolet light.
  2. Dental Veneers: A veneer might be the best option if the chip is large or your tooth needs cosmetic improvement. Veneers are thin covers that adhere to the teeth, giving a more classically shaped look. They are particularly ideal for the front teeth visible when smiling.
  3. Dental Crowns: For more significant damage, including pain or a risk of infection, your dentist may recommend a crown. A crown is a cap, typically made of porcelain or ceramic, fitted over your tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance.
  4. Root Canal Therapy: A root canal may be necessary if the chip is large enough to extend into the pulp – the center of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels. This procedure involves removing the damaged pulp, cleaning the canal, and sealing it. A crown is often placed afterward to protect the tooth.
  5. Dental Implants: If a tooth is extensively damaged and cannot be saved, your dentist might suggest an extraction followed by the placement of a dental implant. An implant serves as a new tooth root and is capped with a crown for a natural-looking appearance.


At Pathway Dental Group, we emphasize the importance of immediate action and professional consultation in the case of a chipped tooth. Understanding your restorative options helps alleviate some of the stress of dental injuries. Rest assured, we are here to restore your smile and the health of your teeth with state-of-the-art treatments tailored to your needs. If you have chipped a tooth, do not wait. Contact us today to receive the care you deserve.

Remember, each case is unique, so you must consult with your dentist immediately to get the best advice tailored to your situation. Let us help you maintain your healthy, beautiful smile!

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