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Chipped a Tooth? Here’s What to Do Next
May 17, 2022

Shocked woman worried about her teeth.

Chipping a tooth can be a scary experience. It can happen from an injury, tooth decay, or simply biting down on something hard. If you chip your tooth, it is a good idea to get treatment immediately to prevent additional damage.

Is a Chipped Tooth an Emergency?

Even though you may feel alarmed when you realize a piece of your tooth has broken off, don’t panic. In most cases, a small chip is not an emergency, and there are many treatment options available to address it.

If a large segment of the tooth chips, you experience significant bleeding or pain, or if the chip is associated with a serious injury, seek immediate care by calling your dentist for a same-day appointment or going to the nearest emergency room or urgent care. Similarly, if an entire permanent tooth is knocked out, it may be possible to reattach it. Reinsert it, if possible, or store it in whole milk and seek immediate medical attention.

While not an emergency, it is important you get treatment for even a minor chipped tooth right away. A chipped tooth may become worse if left untreated, be a sign of underlying problems, or lead to a dangerous infection.

Get a Chipped Tooth Treated Right Away

Only your dentist can tell how bad a chipped tooth is and treat it quickly to prevent additional damage.

Avoid More Damage

Even if a chipped tooth appears superficial, delaying treatment may lead to worsening problems. Any damage has the potential to affect the strength of your tooth. A small crack or chip can weaken the structure of your tooth. It can grow over time, leading to more extensive chips or cracks.


Infection is always a serious medical concern. A chip or crack can open the door for bacteria in your mouth to cause an infection inside your tooth. When the inner pulp of your tooth gets infected, it can be painful and even become a serious medical emergency. An infection could result in you needing a root canal or tooth extraction. Infection resulting from a chipped tooth can be avoided if you get care for a chipped tooth quickly.

Visible Chip or Sharp Edges

Aside from the potential long-term consequences, a chipped tooth may simply be unsightly, or the sharp edges can irritate the inside of your mouth and your tongue. At Hinsdale Dentistry, we can quickly address the appearance and discomfort of a chipped tooth, as well as prevent future damage and infection with fast treatment.

Steps to Take When You Chip Your Tooth

If you suffered severe trauma or have significant pain or bleeding, call a dentist immediately or go to the emergency room or urgent care.

If you have a minor chip:

  • Call Hinsdale Dentistry to schedule an appointment immediately.
  • Rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution.
  • For swelling, use a cold compress.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication, if needed.
  • If you are able to save the missing piece of tooth, or your whole tooth if it has been knocked out, reinsert it or store it in whole milk if possible, and bring it with you to the dentist or emergency room.

Treating a Chipped Tooth

Ideally, a small chip will only need dental bonding to be restored. This is a relatively simple procedure of applying resin to a small chip to fill in the space, strengthen the area, and restore the appearance of your tooth. A more significant chip may require a filling, veneer, crown, root canal, or more extensive repair.

Only a dentist can assess the severity of a chipped tooth. At Hinsdale Dentistry, we are experts in assessing and repairing damaged teeth. Call us right away to prevent a damaged tooth from becoming a more serious problem.

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