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Our teeth can be damaged in a variety of ways during our daily lives, from biting into something hard to a fall on the pavement. Other things such as cavities and bad fillings can also cause painful tooth breakage. If you’ve chipped a tooth, here’s what you should do:


Triage at home

If you’re unable to get to the dentist immediately, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage and triage.

  1. Rinse your mouth with warm water, preferably warm salt water
  2. If there is any bleeding, apply pressure to the area with clean gauze.
  3. Apply ice to the area to reduce swelling
  4. Take an over-the-counter pain medication to reduce pain and swelling
  5. Cover the chipped part of the tooth with dental cement to temporarily seal it.
  6. Use dental wax to cover any sharp edges of the tooth and prevent injury to the tongue or cheeks.
  7. Eat soft foods and liquids; avoid eating anything hot, cold, or hard.


See a dentist, ASAP

What your dentist will do to repair the chip depends on the severity of the chip. For minor chips that don’t expose the dentin or nerve and cause no pain, your dentist may just smooth out the edges to prevent cuts and injury to your tongue and mouth.

For larger chips, your dentist may use filling material to restore the appearance of the tooth and prevent pain. In some instances, chips may require onlays, caps, or crowns to repair them, and if there has been nerve damage, possibly a root canal.

If your tooth chipped because of a cavity or tooth decay, your dentist will have to evaluate the extent of decay to determine the best course of action. The dentist may fill the tooth, or if the damage is severe, remove the tooth.


Chips can happen at any time. Even though they’re strong bones, they can take a lot of abuse from accidental hits to the mouth to biting down on unpopped popcorn kernels. If you ever chip a tooth, don’t panic. Most chips are minor and can be easily repaired. Triage the chip at home, then see your dentist to have the chip repaired as soon as possible.

Have a chipped tooth? Call Mogren Dental today to get it fixed!

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