Chipped Tooth Repair Options and Prevention Tips

Regardless of how it happened, having a chipped or cracked tooth can become incredibly painful, lead to various complications, and make you feel self-conscious if not addressed right away. Therefore, fixing a chipped tooth as soon as it happens it crucial to prevent any further problems.

But what are your options for treating a chipped or cracked tooth?

Here’s a look at the causes of a chipped tooth, how to prevent chipped teeth, and the chipped tooth treatment options available.


There are many causes of chipped and cracked teeth, such as:

  • Excessive wear and tear
  • Biting hard substances, such as ice, candy, or a bone
  • Falls
  • Car or bike accidents
  • Playing contact sports without a mouthguard
  • Grinding your teeth while you sleep
  • Using your teeth to open packages


Weakened tooth enamel is a leading cause of a chipped tooth. When tooth enamel—the tooth’s strong outer covering—wears down, teeth are weakened and more likely to crack than strong teeth.

There are certain risk factors that can wear down enamel and weaken teeth, making them more prone to damage.

These risk factors include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tooth decay and cavities
  • Fillings (especially large and amalgam metal fillings)
  • Teeth grinding
  • Acidic foods, such as coffee, fruit juices, and spicy foods
  • Sugary foods
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Wear and tear over time


A chip or crack in a tooth can lead to an infection in the pulp and root of the tooth since bacteria can easily get in. If this happens, the tooth will likely require a root canal treatment.

Symptoms of an infection in a chipped or cracked tooth include:

  • Pain while eating
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Bad breath
  • A sour taste
  • Swollen glands in the jaw or neck area
  • Fever


If you can’t see your dentist right away after chipping or cracking a tooth, follow these care tips to help protect your tooth and reduce pain or discomfort.

Chippped tooth care tips:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
  • Apply pressure with a piece of gauze if there is bleeding.
  • Cover the chipped tooth with dental cement, which is available at drugstores. Or, place a teabag, sugar-free gum, dental wax, or a temporary dental filling material over the jagged edge of the tooth to protect your tongue and gums.
  • Avoid chewing using the chipped tooth.
  • Eat soft foods.
  • Avoid hot and cold food and beverages to prevent painful tooth sensitivity.
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water after eating to remove food particles that stick to jagged ends of a cracked tooth.
  • Use mouthwash to keep your tooth clean, especially if brushing your tooth causes pain or discomfort.
  • Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkiller, such as ibuprofen, to help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Apply ice on the outside of your cheek to help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Floss to remove food caught between your teeth.
  • Wipe clove oil around any painful gums to numb the area.
  • Wear a mouth guard at night if you grind your teeth and when you play sports.


Visiting your dentist is the first step to fix a cracked tooth. Your dentist will examine the damaged tooth and make a recommendation for your chipped tooth treatment based on the extent of the damage.

Below are the most common dental restorations used for chipped and cracked tooth treatment.


Bonding is used to repair simple chips. Your dentist will roughen the surface of the enamel so the bonding material can adhere to the tooth. They will then shape a composite material to create a natural-looking extension of the tooth and mould the composite material onto the tooth.

Next, they will set, dry, and harden the composite material using an ultraviolet light. Once the bonding is dry, your dentist will shape the material until it fits your tooth for a natural look.


For noticeable cracks that are a cosmetic concern, your dentist might recommend a veneer. Veneers are thin porcelain covers that cover the front of individual teeth, creating a smooth, natural look. You can have one veneer to cover a cracked tooth, or multiple veneers to restore several teeth.

Your dentist will make an impression of your tooth and send it to the lab to create the veneer (a temporary veneer may be used in the meantime). And before bonding the veneer to your tooth, they will shave off a small amount of the tooth’s surface to make room for the veneer.


Crowns are porcelain covers that cover an entire tooth, instead of just the front. Crowns are used for repairing a cracked tooth that is missing a large portion of the original tooth. Crowns are a fast restoration that can repair the look of a damaged tooth, cover exposed nerves, and prevent tooth decay and infection.

Dental Implants

For severe cracks that extend to the surface of the gum line, you may need to have the tooth removed and replaced with a dental implant. Dental implants include a metal post that is implanted into the jaw bone and an artificial tooth that looks and feels like a natural tooth.

While dental implants take longer to complete than the other dental restorations, replacing severely cracked teeth with dental implants will help you avoid infection and the need for root canal treatments.


Here are tips to prevent chipped teeth:

  • Avoid chewing hard foods, like ice and popcorn kernels.
  • Never bite non-food objects, such as pens and bottle caps.
  • Wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
  • Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth.
  • If you grind your teeth at night, get a night mouthguard from your dentist.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene, with regular flossing, brushing, and visits to your dentist.

Chipped and cracked teeth are common dental injuries that can be easily and successfully treated. And while they may not seem like a dental emergency, these injuries should be treated as soon as possible to prevent further damage, pain, and complications such as an infection.

If you’ve chipped or cracked a tooth, visit your dentist to treat it and restore your tooth to its original appearance so you can get back eating, talking, and smiling again without pain, discomfort, or embarrassment.