“Oh no”, my front tooth chipped!
A front tooth chipping is an alarming occurrence. While there is usually no pain, there may be a sharp edge and depending on the size of the chip, it may be unsightly.
The first thing to know is that the tooth is unlikely to keep chipping over the next day or two so there is no reason to fear the tooth crumbling. If the chip happens on the weekend or vacation, treatment can usually wait till a more convenient time.
Treatment options vary from smoothing a rough edge to placing a tooth colored plastic filling to a porcelain veneer or crown. Treatment is determined by the size of the chip and the stress the edge of the tooth bears under function. Small chips can often be smoothed or filled, while veneers or crowns are needed if more of the tooth is missing. The good news is that all our modern materials are very esthetic and the tooth can usually be restored to a natural appearance.
Teeth wear over time even with normal function. Just like tires on a car slowly loose rubber, teeth slowly lose their enamel covering. When the enamel gets thin, it is easier to chip. When people use their front teeth as scissors, tweezers, pliers or bottle openers, excessive stress is put on the enamel and leads to chipping. While those habits should be avoided, sometimes chipping is inevitable as the enamel thins out over time.