Although teeth are protected by the hardest and most durable substance in the body, tooth enamel, under some circumstances, such as severe trauma, they can become cracked or chipped. So what can your Singapore dental care professional do about this sort of damage? Options for chipped tooth repair include filling, bonding, veneers, crowns and, in cases of severe damage, extraction and tooth replacement. The best solution for fixing a cracked or chipped tooth depends largely on the location and severity of the damage.
Dental Filling and Bonding
These are the least expensive and quickest ways to fix cracked or chipped teeth, and can be very effective for minor damage. A minor cracked tooth or chip in a back tooth can generally be fixed in the same way as a cavity would, with a dental filling. Front teeth may be repaired with dental bonding for a better cosmetic result. For bonding to be effective, at least two thirds of the tooth must be healthy and intact. In most cases, bonding can be completed in one visit to your Singapore dental professional, who will first etch the damaged tooth to roughen it surface, then apply resin in a shade to match your natural teeth. The resin will be sculpted to fill in the cracked tooth or chip, then hardened with ultraviolet light and polished, resulting in a natural-looking repair.
If damage to a front tooth is too severe to be repaired with dental bonding, your Singapore dental professional may suggest dental veneers. Veneers are thin shells, constructed of porcelain or composite materials, that are cemented to the surface of natural teeth. To prepare your tooth, a thin layer of enamel will be removed and an impression of your damaged tooth will be taken. Once your customized veneer has been fabricated, a process that generally takes a week or two, your damaged tooth will be etched and the veneer cemented in place.
In some cases, a cracked or chipped tooth may need a dental crown to protect it from further damage. Crowns can be the best solution in cases where a large portion of the tooth has been lost or extensive cracking has occurred, weakening the structure of the tooth. A dental crown is a cap made of metal, porcelain coated metal, resin or ceramic that encases the entire tooth, all the way to the gum line. Once your crown has been fabricated, your tooth will be prepared and the crown cemented in place. Preparation of the affected tooth may include removal of part of the tooth or use of dental fillings to reshape the tooth appropriately, and depending upon the extent of damage, root canal may be necessary before the tooth is crowned.
Extraction and Replacement
While saving a natural tooth is best when it can be done, teeth large chips or deep cracks that cause serious structural damage to the tooth cannot always be repaired. If you've been informed that saving the tooth is impossible or may lead to more extensive dental problems, extraction may by your best option. Replacement of a single missing tooth can be done with dental implants or dental bridges. Of these options, dental implants offer the best solution in most cases, providing a replacement tooth that looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth, and with good oral hygiene and regular dental care, can last a lifetime. Dental bridges, on the other hand, typically must be replaced every seven to ten years, and require crowning of adjacent natural teeth for retention, an issue that can lead to more dental problems in the long run.