What to Do When You Chip a Tooth

smiling mouth with chipped tooth

From Christina, Dental Hygienist:

We all know someone who took a bite out of an apple and heard that dreaded crunch that signified a chipped tooth. Check out our tips for what to do when you chip a tooth and how each solution depends on the size and extent of the fracture.

Smooth Over the Teeth

If your tooth doesn’t have a deep fracture or if the neighboring teeth were already a bit shorter than the fractured tooth, smoothing over the chipped tooth to match the teeth around it may be a great option to consider. Even a smallest chip can feel large to our tongues – you may find that smoothing out the chip fixes your problem.

Small Filling

If the tooth fracture is larger, your dentist may recommend that you get a small filling placed so the anterior teeth look more uniform. Keep in mind that placing small fillings on your front teeth can also come with complications if these fillings aren’t staying in place. Since these fillings are small, then can tend to chip again, discolor, or periodically need maintenance. You should consult with your dentist on the best option for your needs.


A large number of patients who have a metal crown that chips prefers to have porcelain fused to their metal crown(s). It is common for a bit of the porcelain to chip off the metal, which could cause annoyance to the tongue. This chipping can also happen to natural teeth from general wear and tear or nighttime bruxism (excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching). Often times, these areas can be smoothed to appease the tongue. As long as these areas don’t create a food trap or a place for a cavity to start, treatment is typically minimal and simple.

Root Canal

If you have large and unexpected fractures, your tooth will need to be immediately evaluated by a dentist. Your dentist will take an X-Ray of your tooth fractures and will thoroughly check the severity of the break. If a nerve exposure has occurred or the fractures extend into the nerve, you may need to get a root canal. After the root canal procedure, a crown will usually be needed to repair the tooth, strengthen it, and have it match the look of its neighboring teeth.


Unfortunately, a severely damaged tooth may require an extraction. In these cases, the tooth or the root are unrepairable. If an extraction is needed, there are options that can esthetically help you as you go through this process. A flipper (a removable partial denture) or a replacement tooth can be worn during the time of healing. Implant replacements are usually a great option, but you could also consider using a bridge if you aren’t a candidate for implant placement.

Small fractures that aren’t causing any pain or sensitivity can often wait to be discussed with your dentist until your next preventative care checkups. Fractures that are painful, very apparent, or annoying to the tongue should be addressed quickly for an evaluation. Your dentist will go over your options and explain any treatment thoroughly.

If you have a chipped tooth, we’re happy to get your tooth fixed. At Family Dentist Tree, our main goal is to accomplish a healthy and esthetically pleasing smile that our patients are happy with. Call us at 507-288-1188 to request an appointment today.


Request an Appointment

Family Dentist Tree is a family-oriented dental office located in Rochester, MN. Whether you need a cleaning, filling, crown, root canal, treatment for gum disease, or teeth whitening, we are here to help you with all your dental needs. We serve all ages, and our offerings include including family dental care and senior plans. Request an appointment online or call us at 507-288-1188.