Teeth are one of those things most people take for granted. We don’t give a whole lot of thought or attention to them until suddenly they are causing us pain or have been damaged in some way. When it comes to a “damaged” tooth, one of the most common issues is a chipped tooth. Even though teeth are quite hard and strong, they aren’t indestructible and that means accidents can happen that lead to a chip.

Besides a chipped tooth being a cosmetic issue, it can also result in a fair amount of pain, especially if serious damage has been done. Here we’ll take a look at the steps you can take should you experience a chipped tooth.

Immediate Steps to Take

In some cases, a chipped tooth is very minor, and you may not even realize you’ve chipped it until much later after the fact. In other cases, where trauma is involved, the chipped tooth may result in bleeding. You’ll want to stop the bleeding by using a sterile piece of gauze and applying pressure to the area until the bleeding stops.

If there is any sort of swelling, you can apply a cold compress to the area to bring it down. The swelling can add to the pain, so it’s best to do what you can to minimize it. Speaking of pain, it’s best to use acetaminophen to treat the immediate pain.

Because you need to be wary of infection, it’s wise to rinse your mouth every few hours with warm salt water. As Health Row suggests, it’s also wise to stick to soft foods until the tooth has been looked at.

Make an Appointment with the Dentist

For situations where the chip is quite large and extensive damage has been done, including bleeding and swelling, it’s best to get to the dentist immediately. That may require an emergency visit. For more minor chips, usually you can wait a day or two to see the dentist, but still go ahead and book an appointment.

Visiting the dentist is important so they can assess the damage, figure out the best course of action, and ensure that no infection is setting in.

As for how the dentist will fix the chipped tooth, it really depends on how bad it is. If it’s a minor chip, then usually the dentist will just leave it alone. For more serious chips, it may require veneers, dental bonding, a root canal, or crowns.

The Most Common Causes

As for the most common causes that lead to a chipped tooth, there are a few. The most common are cavities that lead to a weakened tooth; a hit to the mouth or face; biting down on something hard like a hard candy, ice, or bone; or poor dental hygiene and care.

A Common Occurrence that Requires Attention

Even though a chipped tooth is relatively common, it’s still important to take seriously and visit your dentist as soon as possible. This will ensure that any damage is repaired and you don’t end up with an infection.