Lighting at nightclub and movie theaters often reveals which smiling patrons have had a chipped tooth repaired. Yet, there is an innovative, simple and natural approach to hide these restorations, reports the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education.
“If an accident happens and the tooth is chipped, find the chip, save it and visit the dentist immediately,” says Paul Bussman, DMD, FAGD and spokesperson for the Academy. “If the tooth isn’t broken across the nerve, the dentist can etch the enamel on both the good tooth and the tooth chip, use a light-cured adhesive and secure the chip to the tooth.”
In some cases this technique works better than bonding, advises Dr. Bussman. Bonded material reflects light differently and in certain settings, the restored portion of the tooth always appears different than the natural enamel.
Although bonding is widely used to restore chipped teeth, it is difficult to obtain a perfect match to the original enamel. “Patients will always have the same tooth shade if the dentist can use the natural tooth chip for a restoration,” says Dr. Bussman.
If an accident happens, and a tooth is chipped, put the chip in a plastic baggie. Keep the chip moist by adding drops of water to the bag or wrapping it in a wet gauze.
The most important factor when chipping a tooth is to visit your dentist as soon as possible. The longer you wait to get the chip fixed means risking permanent nerve damage to the tooth, which is much more costly and involved to treat.