If you have a chipped tooth, you might not feel any tooth pain unless the chip is large enough to expose the nerves in the inner layer of the tooth. Chipping a tooth means you have lost valuable tooth structure and potentially laid the foundation for additional chips and cracks. Or you may need a root canal if the chip is close to the pulp containing the nerve and it doesn’t heal properly from the trauma. If a chipped tooth exposes the nerves inside a tooth, you might notice increased tooth sensitivity and pain when chewing or when the chipped tooth is exposed to very hot or very cold food and beverages. A chip on one of the pointed chewing surfaces of the back teeth is called a broken cusp. This type of chipped tooth is rarely painful, but it should be examined by a dental professional. You might need a crown or a dental on-lay to restore the shape of the tooth and prevent further damage or decay.
Toothache and jaw pain are common symptoms of dental injuries. Some people may complain of pain with chewing or with temperature changes.
Although a tooth may have broken off, loosened, fallen out, or been pushed into the gum line, other less common symptoms may be seen.
- Isolated bleeding from the mouth
- Cuts surrounding the lips and cheeks
- Facial swelling
- A change in the tooth’s color (may take a long time to appear)
Immediate Care for a Chipped Tooth
If you have a chipped tooth, make an appointment to see your dental professional as soon as possible. Meanwhile, follow these steps:
- Rinse: Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Press: If there is any bleeding in your mouth as a result of a chipped tooth, use a piece of gauze to apply pressure to the area.
- Chill: Place an ice pack on your lips or cheek near the chipped tooth to help control swelling.
- Cover: If you can’t see a dental professional the same day that your chipped tooth occurs, cover the chipped tooth with dental cement (available at most drugstores) to protect the remaining tooth until your appointment.