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I Chipped My Tooth, What Should I Do?

May 13th, 2024 | 4 min read

By NYC Smile Design

Chipped/broken front tooth

A chipped tooth can be concerning, but knowing how to respond promptly can make a significant difference in your dental health.

At NYC Smile Design, we have extensive experience in handling dental emergencies like chipped teeth. Our expertise ensures that you receive immediate, effective care to restore your tooth's integrity and appearance.

In this blog, we'll explore the immediate actions to take, potential risks, professional treatment options, and preventive measures for addressing a chipped tooth effectively.

Immediate Actions for a Chipped Tooth

For a chipped tooth, prompt action can help prevent further damage and alleviate discomfort. Here’s what to do immediately:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm, salted water to cleanse the area and remove debris.
  • Use a cold compress on the cheek near the affected area to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • Apply sterile gauze to any bleeding areas, applying gentle pressure to control bleeding.
  • Save any pieces of the chipped tooth in a small container of milk or your saliva; this can sometimes help in the repair process.
  • Avoid chewing with the damaged tooth to prevent additional stress on it.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relief if necessary, being mindful to use as directed and considering any personal health conditions or allergies.

A damaged tooth

Potential Risks Associated with a Chipped Tooth

Neglecting a chipped tooth can lead to various complications. When the enamel is damaged, it exposes the underlying layers of the tooth, increasing sensitivity to temperature changes and sweet or acidic foods. This heightened sensitivity can cause discomfort and pain during eating or drinking. 

Additionally, the chipped area is more susceptible to bacterial invasion, heightening the risk of infection or decay. If bacteria penetrate the tooth's inner layers, it could necessitate more invasive treatments like root canals or extractions. Beyond the physical implications, a chipped tooth can also affect the aesthetics of your smile, potentially impacting your self-confidence and oral function. 

The visible damage may become a cosmetic concern, especially if the chip is on a front tooth. Therefore, timely dental intervention is essential to prevent these risks and maintain both dental health and the appearance of your smile.

Dental Evaluation and Professional Treatment Options

Seeking a professional evaluation as soon as possible after chipping a tooth is essential for determining the appropriate course of action. During the visit, your dentist will assess the extent of the damage and suggest the best treatment to restore the tooth's function and appearance. The options might include:

Tooth Contouring

Tooth contouring is a minimally invasive procedure where small amounts of tooth enamel are removed to reshape the tooth and eliminate rough edges, improving its overall appearance and preventing further damage.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding involves the application of a tooth-colored composite resin to the damaged area. This material is sculpted to the natural shape of the tooth, hardened with a special light, and polished, effectively restoring the tooth’s appearance and function.


These are thin, custom-made porcelain shells designed to cover the front surface of the tooth. Veneers provide a durable and aesthetic solution for chips, especially on front teeth, giving a natural and uniform appearance.


For more extensive chipping, a crown may be necessary. Crowns are custom-fitted caps that cover the entire tooth, restoring its shape, size, strength, and appearance. They are ideal for cases where the tooth's structure is significantly compromised.


Inlays/Onlays are indirect restorations that offer a conservative repair for larger areas of tooth damage. Made from durable materials like porcelain or composite resin, inlays and onlays are bonded to the tooth, providing substantial support and restoring its shape and function.

Your dentist will guide you through these options, considering factors such as the location of the chipped tooth, the extent of the damage, and your overall oral health, to ensure the best possible outcome for your smile.

Post-Treatment Care and Maintenance

Following the treatment of a chipped tooth, adhering to your dentist’s post-treatment care instructions is crucial for ensuring the longevity and success of the repair. This includes maintaining excellent oral hygiene practices, such as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly to remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and along the gum line. These habits will help prevent further decay or damage to the treated tooth and surrounding teeth.

In addition to daily care, it is important to attend scheduled follow-up appointments with your dentist. These visits allow the dentist to monitor the progress of the treated area, make any necessary adjustments to the restoration, and assess your overall oral health. Consistent check-ups and cleanings also provide an opportunity to catch and address any new issues early, helping to maintain the strength and appearance of your teeth following treatment.

By closely following these care and maintenance guidelines, you can help ensure that your tooth remains healthy and that the results of your treatment last as long as possible, contributing to a stable and attractive smile.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Future Tooth Chipping

To minimize the risk of future teeth chipping, taking preventive measures is essential. One effective strategy is wearing a mouthguard during sports or any activities that pose a risk of dental injury. This protective device can absorb and distribute the force of an impact, reducing the likelihood of chipping or other tooth damage.

Additionally, being cautious with dietary choices can help protect your teeth. Avoid biting down on hard or sticky foods, such as ice, hard candy, or caramel, which can exert excessive pressure on the teeth and lead to chips or cracks. Opting for softer foods and cutting items into smaller pieces before eating can reduce the stress on your teeth during chewing.

Regular dental check-ups are also crucial for maintaining the strength and integrity of your teeth. These visits allow your dentist to monitor your oral health, provide professional cleanings, and detect any potential issues early on. By addressing minor problems before they escalate, you can help safeguard your teeth against chipping and other types of damage, ensuring a healthier, more resilient smile.


When you chip a tooth, acting quickly and obtaining professional dental care are crucial steps to mitigate damage and prevent further complications. It's important to address the issue without delay to avoid pain, potential infection, or more extensive dental work in the future. Consulting with a dental professional ensures that you receive the appropriate treatment, whether it’s a simple polish, dental bonding, or more comprehensive restorative work like veneers or crowns. Following the treatment, adhering to your dentist’s care instructions, and maintaining diligent oral hygiene practices will aid in the recovery and preservation of your tooth’s integrity.

Your smile is an invaluable asset, and ensuring its health and beauty requires attention to both immediate care and ongoing maintenance. If you’ve experienced a chipped tooth or want to learn more about protecting your dental health, consider scheduling a consultation with NYC Smile Design. Our team of experts is committed to providing high-quality care and personalized treatment plans designed to meet your unique needs and aesthetic goals. Contact us today to embark on your journey toward a healthier, more radiant smile.