Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body.1 However, chipping a tooth is common and can happen in a number of ways.

Here’s some information on chipped teeth and how to get them fixed.

Causes

Ways to chip or crack a tooth include:

  • Biting down on something hard (ice, hard candy)
  • Trauma to the mouth or face
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Uneven chewing pressure
  • Using teeth to open a bottle or package

Initial care

If you chip a tooth, take these actions right away:

  1. Call your dentist and make an appointment as soon as possible—preferably the same day.
  2. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to reduce the risk of infection.
  3. Apply pressure with a clean gauze if your mouth is bleeding.
  4. Cover the chip with a piece of sugarless gum or paraffin wax if it’s sharp or jagged.

Permanent treatments

For small chips, your dentist may simply smooth and polish the affected area. For medium and large chips, repairing the tooth will likely require one of these treatments:

  • Bonding—A simple procedure where a composite material is molded onto the tooth to replace the missing piece. Once the composite has hardened, it can be polished to a natural-looking finish.
  • Crowns—A metal, ceramic or porcelain shell that is custom fitted to cover an entire tooth. Crowns protect the tooth from irritation and infection, and can help restore a natural appearance.
  • Veneers—Like crowns, veneers are porcelain covers for teeth. A thin layer can be used to cover the front of the tooth while a thicker section can fill in the chipped part of the tooth.
  • Dental Implants—If your tooth is severely chipped, cracked or broken, your dentist may recommend having the tooth removed and replaced with a dental implant.

Learn about dental plans with Humana

If you need dental treatment, Humana can help. We offer a broad range of dental plans with varying levels of coverage, many with low monthly premiums. Some of our plans also feature no waiting periods, which means you could get covered in about 5 days. To see plans and prices in your area, check out our Humana Insurance Company dental insurance page.

Source

  1. “Enamel,” Britannica, last accessed September 18, 2020, https://www.britannica.com/science/enamel-tooth, opens new window.