The average strength of a human bite is 162 pounds per square inch, so the enamel surrounding your teeth has to withstand that amount of pressure. But, when your tooth meets a much stronger adversary, the result is a chipped tooth.
Tooth enamel, a thin protective coating surrounding a tooth, is considered mineralized tissue that gives your teeth their strength and durability. Although a break in your tooth may look harmless and you’re not in any pain, if left untreated, you’ll have unwanted circumstances. This article will further explore the causes, fixes, and costs associated with a chipped tooth.
What Causes Chipped Teeth?
Between 34 and 74 percent of people in the age bracket of 30 to 50 have one or more chipped teeth. Causes of broken teeth vary and can come from these external as well as internal forces.
Unfortunately, even with all the modern safety equipment in vehicles today, sometimes the injury is still eminent. The leading reason you would receive a broken tooth through an auto accident is via steering wheel or dashboard impact.
Not wearing a mouthguard when playing contact sports, which, as you guessed, is how many kids injure their teeth.
Bruxism is the repetitive grinding of teeth, especially molars, usually brought on by stress. Grinding puts additional and unnecessary wear on your enamel as your teeth grind against one or more surfaces that may eventually completely break the tooth structure and bolster tooth decay.
Cavities are areas of your enamel decayed and eroded by harmful bacteria creating weak spots in your teeth. The worn areas eventually lead to chips, fractures, and a complete deterioration of the entire tooth if not fixed promptly.
Chomping down at the right angle on something hard, such as candy, ice cubes, or piece of bone, is another leading cause of a broken tooth.
A misaligned bite causes teeth to hit each other improperly, which wears repetitively in the same spot, eventually resulting in a crack in the enamel. Misalignment occurs when the teeth themselves do not sit right, or the jaw structure itself is not aligned correctly.
Do I Need To Repair A Chipped Tooth?
It would be best if you made arrangements to have your chipped tooth fixed at your earliest convenience. You may choose not to have the tooth repaired if a chip does not visibly detract from your appearance, you can’t afford the procedure, or you’re experiencing a lack of dental insurance.
A broken molar is far worse due to its position in the mouth. Chipped teeth cause more extensive problems and a bigger bill down the road.
Even the smallest of breaks equals loss of tooth structure and durability. Any interruption in the tooth’s structure also leaves it open to bacteria build-up and expedites decay. If left unrepaired, the slightest tooth loss could cause poor eating habits and health issues.
How Do Dentists Repair Chipped Teeth?
When you chip a tooth, the severity of the chip will determine the best treatment plan for you. Most dentists will offer different options to fix your tooth.
Veneers are thin, strong shells bonded together with the front of your chipped teeth. Once adhered, veneers cover most smile line chips and return the tooth to its original realist appearance. They also add another defensive layer to your tooth.
With the dental bonding treatment, your dentists will use a composite resin in a color which closely matches your existing shade. The bonding agent is applied to your tooth and carefully shaped to fill in the tooth structure returning it to a healthy natural appearance.
A crown is a dental treatment that ultimately lays over the visible part of your tooth and conceals chips while combating bacteria that leads to decay. This type of repair is particularly useful when a back tooth like a molar is involved.
If the chip is mild enough, your dentist might choose tooth contouring. Contouring is where the tooth gets smoothed out by filing and shaping the enamel. Shaping, done correctly, can make it appear as no trauma occurred to your tooth. However, contouring won’t work if the chip is extensive.
If your tooth has cracked just above the gum line, your dentist may replace it with a dental implant. The dentist first removes the tooth allowing the space to heal; then, a metal post placed in the gum line holds the implant securely, creating a tooth that looks and feels like the real thing.
How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Chipped Tooth?
Most dentists accept many major insurance plans, personal checks, cash, and all major credit cards. Some dental offices have financing available, or if the procedure is extensive enough, they may break it up into several visits. Dental repair prices vary widely depending upon the severity of the chip, the cost of living at the location of your dental office, discounts offered for cash payments, or insurance deductibles.
Due to the technology used like 3-D casting and high-quality materials in creating the veneers, they are a more expensive option. The cost, on average, ranges from $1,600 to $3,500 for a single veneer but not generally covered by insurance due to it being considered cosmetic dentistry.
Dental bonding can range from $450 up to $750, depending on your dentist, but cosmetic procedures such as this are usually not covered by insurance.
A regular dental crown to cover a chip will cost approximately between $1100 and $1500. These prices also depend upon the technology and material used to create the crown structure. Materials available for crowns are gold, porcelain, metal-fused porcelain, zirconia, and Lithium Disilicate.
Dental contouring is the least expensive way to repair a chipped tooth because no additional materials are required, the fee for contouring of one tooth range approximately from $50 to $350. Unfortunately, a repair of this nature is considered cosmetic and usually won’t get covered under your dental insurance.
In general, a single dental implant ranges between $1,500 to $2,000. An implant procedure may partially receive coverage under insurance.
A chipped tooth is a common dental issue, but that doesn’t mean your fix should take your treatment choice lightly. Resolve the problem quickly by making an appointment and discussing all the options with your dental provider. With the proper care and professional restoration, you’ll be back to a chip-free grin in no time.