When dentists recommend dental crowns, they are referring to caps that they place atop damaged teeth. Crowns restore the shape of a patient's tooth, covering the tooth and protecting it from further damage when fillings are insufficient. Dentists shape crowns from porcelain, resin, metal, or ceramic.Every day, dentists use dental crowns to restore smiles. When…
Does a Chipped Tooth Require a Root Canal?
If you have a chipped tooth, the situation may be more serious than dealing with a cosmetic problem. Indeed, having this kind of tooth damage can be embarrassing and make you want to avoid being around other people. However, the implications can run deeper than what people can see in your smile. Untreated, a chip can lead to other conditions and health concerns. The dentist might even need to perform a root canal. The decision will depend on how large the chip is and whether it has exposed the pulp or root.
Causes of a chipped tooth
When part of a tooth breaks away, it can cause intense pain. It can also be embarrassing and affect the person’s smile. Chips occur in different ways, both due to trauma and poor lifestyle habits. For example, a hard blow to the face from a fall or another object can chip a tooth. The same thing can happen by biting into a utensil, pen, or other items that people typically chew on.
Teeth grinding can also chip a tooth. People who do this often do so while asleep at night. Over time, it weakens teeth and wears them down. A lack of brushing can also lead to chipping, as this leads to decay and the deterioration of the enamel layer.
Small chipped teeth may not even be noticeable to other people. The dentist might identify a chip during an exam or through an X-ray. For chips of this size, the dentist might only need to smooth and polish the tooth. A filling or cosmetic bonding procedure, which involves the application of a resin material that hardens into a moldable substance, can also build up and reshape the tooth. For small damage, a root canal will not be necessary.
For a moderately sized chipped tooth, the dentist has a few options. Placing a crown over the tooth can restore its shape and strength. Similarly, a veneer can make the tooth its desired size and shape once again. Whatever the patient chooses, it will help restore the chipped teeth.
When a root canal is required
A chipped tooth is not only just an aesthetic problem. If the damage exposes the nerves and roots, it can cause intense pain and discomfort. The tooth is more likely to suffer decay and becomes infected. Untreated, the infection could spread throughout the body. Removing the damaged nerve is crucial in this case and occurs during a root canal treatment.
How it works
First, the dentist will examine the patient’s mouth to determine the severity of the chip and whether or not it requires crowns, veneers, or other procedures besides a root canal. Dentists are trained in the use of all types of dental repair materials and techniques, so it should be easy for them to identify and craft a custom treatment plan to effectively address the condition.
To perform a root canal, the dentist will first take X-rays and then numb the patient with a local anesthetic. The dentist then drills into the tooth, reaching the pulp. This chamber houses vessels, nerves, and other tissue. The dentist removes the pulp and cleans out the tooth. The dentist will also disinfect the tooth and prevent further infection from developing. After sealing the tooth, the dentist may place a crown over the tooth to protect and stabilize it after sealing it.
Treat your chipped tooth correctly
If you are dealing with any kind of dental trauma, such as a chipped tooth, no matter the severity, it is important to seek professional dental care as soon as possible. It is important for you to understand sometimes a chip can cause underlying damage that you may not be able to see yourself. Therefore, waiting can turn a minor chipped tooth into a more severe condition, such as an infection.
A root canal might sound like a scary procedure, but it could be critical to repair your tooth. First, your dentist will evaluate your condition to determine the extent of the damage. Then, if you need a root canal, you can have peace of mind by knowing that it is an effective treatment. Talk to our dentist if you have any concerns.
At Dr. Eric J. Steinbrecher, DDS, we will be able to administer an effective treatment to correct a chipped tooth. If necessary, we will perform root canal therapy to ensure your chances of a repeat chip are lessened.
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