Chipped teeth are a common occurrence and can be caused by several factors:
- Trauma – Both from a blow to the face and from biting on something harder than you expected
- Heavily filled teeth – If the teeth are heavily filled then they are weaker and more likely to suffer damage
- Bruxism – also known as tooth grinding. This is a very destructive habit as it transmits very heavy forces to the teeth for prolonged periods, mainly at night. The forces lead to tooth wear and eventually the teeth may start to chip due to the weakness caused by the wear.
It is always better to try to prevent damage to teeth rather than treat it. Although, this may not always be possible. Some sensible precautions you can take:
- Sports mouthguards – these are very important if you take part in contact sports. Try to have one made by your dentist as these are custom made. The initial cost will be well worth it as damage to your teeth can be costly to repair. Some schools provide a custom mouthguard service at a much lower cost but try to avoid the types you mould yourself as they may prove a false economy.
- If you suspect are grinding your teeth – You should bring this to the attention of your dentist or seek a dentist if you do not already have one. Tooth wear and subsequent tooth chipping can be insidious and often by the time it is recognised the teeth may require substantial dental treatment to put right. There are several methods to manage bruxism, which your dentist can discuss with you. Bruxism can cause other problems as well which you may recognise; headaches, sensitive teeth in the morning, waking up with generally tired facial muscles and unexplained tooth fractures.
Chipped teeth in children
If the chipped tooth is at the front and you suspect trauma as the cause you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. In the case of an adult tooth the tooth can be repaired but even if it is a baby tooth the dentist needs to examine your child to assess if there is any deeper damage to a developing adult tooth. Be safe and see your dentist.
Repairing chipped teeth
The type of repair will depend on several factors including:
- How much of the tooth has been lost
- The health and condition of the remaining tooth
- How the tooth was chipped in the first place
Your dentist will carefully assess all these factors and explain your options. It may only be a small tooth coloured filling that is required. Equally, if the tooth is very damaged and the remaining part of the tooth is weak you may require something more involved such as a crown.
Sometimes a back tooth can chip due to it being heavily restored already. In these circumstances you dentist may suggest an onlay, which will not only fill the tooth but strengthen it at the same time.
If the cause was preventable then your dentist will also discuss prevention of future fractures with you.
Types of repair and costs
As explained above the type of repair can vary and as a result so can the cost. To give an idea of costs some broad ranges are listed below:
- Tooth coloured filling or composite – from £75-125
- Crowns – from £425
- Porcelain Veneer – from £550
- Sports Mouthguard – from £125
- Onlay of Back Tooth – from £395-475
Please note these costs are indicative for Carfax Dental Practice private patients only and your dentist may have a different fee structure. You would need an assessment of the fractured tooth first and at this point you should be given accurate quotes for each applicable option.