How to Handle a Chipped Tooth Emergency in Fresno

man with chipped tooth in FresnoA sudden jolt of reality as you feel a jagged edge where enamel was meant to be. Your tooth. Chipped. You’re not alone, and your situation warrants swift, educated action. If you’re in Fresno and find yourself dealing with a chipped tooth, OnCall Dental – Fresno is here for you.

A chipped tooth is more than a cosmetic setback; it often signals a dental emergency. Not only can it be excruciatingly painful, but it can have lasting effects on your oral health if not addressed properly and promptly. While the initial shock may linger, swift and informed steps can minimize the damage and pain as well as pave the way for effective long-term treatment.

Understanding a Chipped Tooth

Before you can form a plan of action, it’s vital to understand the nature of a chipped tooth. A chipped tooth occurs when a portion of the tooth structure is broken off. This can happen for a multitude of reasons, from biting down on a hard object to trauma or decay. Depending on the severity of the chip, this could range from a mild cosmetic annoyance to a more critical issue that exposes the sensitive inner layers of the tooth, leading to pain and potentially further damage.

The severity of a chipped tooth can be classified into various types:

  • Minor Chip: This is a small piece of enamel that’s broken off, often not causing significant pain. Cosmetic dentistry can usually address this type of chip.
  • Moderate Chip: A bit more substantial, a moderate chip might extend into the dentin or pulp of the tooth, requiring dental attention to avoid infection and further decay.
  • Severe Chip: If a large portion of the tooth breaks off, it can be quite painful, exposing the nerve. Immediate treatment is imperative to save the tooth.

Immediate Actions after Chipping a Tooth

The first moments after chipping a tooth are crucial. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what you should do:

1. Assess the Damage

Carefully rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Evaluate the size and location of the chip. If it’s a minor chip with no significant pain, you may not need to seek immediate emergency care.

2. Manage Pain and Swelling

If you’re experiencing pain, an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen can be helpful. A cold compress applied to the outside of your mouth can also reduce swelling. Avoid using the damaged tooth for eating to prevent further injury.

3. Call OnCall Dental – Fresno

Even if it’s after hours, calling your dentist’s office or an after-hours emergency dental service can provide you with the necessary advice and an appointment for the next business day.

4. Save the Fragment

If a piece of your tooth broke off, try to locate and save it. Moistening it with saliva or milk can help preserve the tissue so it can potentially be reattached by your dentist.

5. Protect Your Tooth

In the meantime, you can protect the chipped tooth by applying dental wax or temporary filling material available at most drug stores. This keeps the area from being exposed to bacteria and food particles that can lead to decay and infection.

Treatment Options for a Chipped Tooth

Once you’ve contacted our team and made an appointment, you can expect a few potential treatment options depending on the severity of the chip:

Cosmetic Bonding

For minor chips, cosmetic bonding can be an effective and minimally invasive treatment. The dentist will apply a tooth-colored resin to the damaged area, shaping and polishing it to match the natural contours of your tooth.

Dental Crown

Moderate to severe chips may require a dental crown, which is a cap placed over the damaged tooth. Crowns protect the tooth from further damage and restore its function and appearance.

Root Canal and Crown

If the chip is large enough to expose the pulp or nerve of the tooth, you may need a root canal to remove damaged tissue and then a crown to restore the tooth’s structure.

Extraction and Implant

In the most severe cases, when the tooth cannot be saved, it may need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant, which provides a permanent solution for missing teeth.

Turning a Dental Emergency into a Positive Experience

Chipping a tooth can be an alarming experience, but it’s one that you can turn into a positive learning opportunity for better oral health practices. By acting swiftly and seeking out OnCall Dental – Fresno, you not only alleviate immediate discomfort but also ensure the long-term health and beauty of your smile.


OnCall Dental – Fresno
5492 N Palm Ave Ste A
Fresno, CA 93704