How to Fix a Chipped Tooth at Home (Kits & Other Options)

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Table of Contents

  1. How Does a Chipped Tooth Happen?
  2. Types of Chipped Teeth
  3. What To Do After Chipping a Tooth
  4. Kits to Fix a Chipped Tooth
  5. Managing a Chipped Tooth
  6. Getting Professional Help
  7. Treatment for Chipped Tooth
  8. Cost of Chipped Tooth Repair
  9. What Not To Do At Home
  10. Prevent Future Chipped Teeth
  11. Be Wary of Short-term Solutions
  12. Chipped Teeth FAQs
  13. References

If you have a chipped tooth, there is little you can do at home to actually fix the issue, though you can alleviate some discomfort and protect your mouth.

You’ll need a professional to fill the chip in the most appropriate way. The method chosen will depend on the location and severity of the chip.

Some drugstores sell emergency kits that are intended to soften the edges of chipped teeth. They essentially consist of paraffin wax that you wrap around the jacked edges of a chipped tooth.

In a pinch, you can use sugarless chewing gum for the same purpose. It’ll simply prevent the jagged edge of a chipped tooth from cutting or scraping your lips, tongue, or the inside of your mouth.

Some DIY kits claim to help you fix a chipped tooth at home. Be aware that these kits only offer a temporary solution to your chipped tooth. They can make it look aesthetically pleasing for a couple days, but you need to see your dentist to get a more permanent fix.

How Does a Chipped Tooth Happen?

Chipped teeth are the most common dental injury reported. You bite into something that is too hard, you are in a minor accident and hit your head, or maybe there is an underlying issue with your tooth that leads to chipping a small piece off. No matter how it happens, a chipped tooth is a bummer.

If you chip your tooth, try to save the piece if it is big enough and you can find it. Then, call your dentist as soon as possible. 

Your dentist can treat your tooth, so the chip doesn’t get bigger. Treatment may include putting a cap over the area to protect your tooth. 

For most people, a chipped tooth seems like a problem with their appearance rather than a potential medical issue. However, chipped teeth can lead to bigger problems by exposing sensitive inner parts of your tooth. This exposure can lead to decay, infection, and tooth loss.

Types of Chipped Teeth

Cracked teeth can be categorized into five major groups.

  1. Craze lines: Tiny vertical cracks grow visible on the enamel. This type is common with aging, although craze lines rarely lead to severe or irreparable tooth damage.

  2. Fractured cusp: These form in teeth with cavities or fillings. They are considered minor cracks and don’t extend deep into the sensitive parts of the tooth. Because of that, they’re usually not painful.

  3. Cracked tooth (gumline): Cracks extend to the gumline and can require extraction. Subgingival cracked teeth can be repaired with non-removal procedures, including dental crowns and bonds.

  4. Split tooth: Some cracked teeth split entirely into two or more sections. This usually stems from poor hygiene and lack of long-term dental care. This type of crack is difficult to repair and almost always calls for extraction.

  5. Vertical root fracture: Caused by frequent and repetitive forces, this damage to the tooth leads to fractures that extend over time. Vertical root fractures are most common in adults over 50 years old.

What to Do After Chipping a Tooth

What To Do After Chipping a Tooth

When you chip a tooth, call your dentist and set up an appointment. If you can find the piece of tooth, save it in some anti-cavity mouthwash or even in a small glass of milk. Your dentist may be able to reattach the chip. 

If the chip is very small, you are unlikely to find the missing piece. Don’t worry because your dentist has several ways to cosmetically fix the problem. These treatments can help to keep your teeth healthy and prevent cracking or infection. 

You may not even notice when you chip your tooth. Instead, you might later experience specific symptoms, such as these:

  • Feeling a rough or uneven surface if you run your tongue along the tooth

  • Feeling a jagged or sharp edge on your tooth

  • Swelling along the gumline near the chipped tooth

  • Intermittent pain or sharp pain when biting into food

  • Pain while eating and drinking

  • Feeling like something is stuck in your teeth

Kits to Fix a Chipped Tooth at Home

If you have to wait a while to see your dentist, you may want to use a kit to create a temporary cover for your chipped tooth.

These at-home kits often use wax to cover the broken edges of the tooth, which can also protect the inner layers of the tooth from food particles and bacteria. Other kits may contain material that can be molded into the shape of the missing piece of your tooth.

These kits only offer temporary solutions to your chipped tooth. While they may protect your tooth to a certain extent, they are not going to stay in place very long. It’s likely that the quick-fix repair will fall off within a couple days.

These DIY kits also do not address any underlying problems like enamel changes or infection that could have caused your tooth to chip. This means your tooth is likely to sustain further damage since the underlying issue isn’t addressed.

Even if you use a chipped-tooth kit as a provisional solution, you need to see a dentist as soon as possible to assess the overall situation.

A chipped tooth can be embarrassing, and you likely want to repair it quickly. But ultimately you need to set up an appointment with your dentist even if you can temporarily manage the issues with some at-home kits or other options.

Managing a Chipped Tooth at Home

Chipping a tooth may cause some pain in the area. A dentist can treat the tooth, ensure it is free from infection, or confirm it is not at risk for other major issues. Comprehensive treatment means that any pain in the area will be addressed.

If you can’t see a dentist immediately and are in pain from the chip, you can try some home remedies.

  • Take over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to reduce inflammation.

  • Place cold compresses on the outside of the mouth to further decrease swelling.

  • Elevate your head while you sleep. This reduces how much blood pools in your head, thereby minimizing the pressure put on your gums.

  • Use over-the-counter oral numbing gels to anesthetize the surrounding area.

  • Swish a saltwater rinse around your mouth. The mixture of salt and warm water can help to reduce inflammation and lower your infection risk.

  • Dab clove oil onto the area lightly with a cotton ball or swab.

  • Drink peppermint tea. It has some antimicrobial properties and can calm your nervous system.

Fortunately, most people who have a chipped tooth do not have pain from the issue. They are more likely to be worried about their appearance. At their appointment, their dentist will assess any long-term oral dental problems that may occur due to the chip.

Get Professional Help to Fix the Chipped Tooth

Your dentist is the only one who can permanently repair a chipped tooth. If the chip is small, they may just polish and smooth the area, so your tooth has an even shape again.

If the chip does not affect your appearance, does not bother you, and is not putting you at risk of further health problems, your dentist may not even need to treat it. Instead, they may simply monitor the chipped tooth during your regular visits.

If you have a large chip but you are able to save that piece of your tooth, your dentist may be able to reattach it. If you aren’t able to find the missing piece, they can use a resin filling to create a replacement piece on the tooth. You may also need a veneer or onlay to protect the tooth and give it a more natural appearance.

Sometimes, chipping a tooth exposes the root. These larger chips may indicate that an underlying infection or decay has made your enamel too soft. In this case, you may need to get a root canal. This cleans out the infected area and supports your root by repairing damaged areas of the tooth.

After a root canal, you may need to get a crown on top of the tooth, so it has a natural appearance. The crown also serves to protect the filling.

Treatment for Chipped Tooth

Depending on the depth, location, and overall condition of your chipped tooth, treatment options for your chipped tooth may include the following:

  • Bonding: The fracture is filled with a resin or plastic resin material.

  • Contouring: The broken tooth is smoothed out by contouring and polishing the rough edges.

  • Crown: A cap (usually porcelain or ceramic) is placed over the fractured tooth, fixing its appearance and providing protection.

  • Extraction: When the roots and nerves of the exposed tooth show damage, your dentist may elect to extract the tooth. In this case, you will want to choose a tooth replacement treatment option (such as a bridge, dentures, or dental implant), so the space left by the extracted tooth doesn’t cause shifting or decay issues.

  • Root canal: If the crack reaches into the pulp of the tooth (home of the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels), the damaged pulp may need to be removed with a root canal procedure. 

  • Veneer: If you have enough natural tooth left, a thin covering of plastic or porcelain fits over the front of the chipped tooth.

  • No treatment: If your cracked tooth doesn’t affect your appearance, isn’t deep or wide, and doesn’t cause you pain, your dentist may advise leaving it alone.

Cost of Chipped Tooth Repair

The cost of repairing your chipped tooth will depend on the treatment needed. In addition to the price of the actual procedure, there may be additional in-office costs for x-rays, exams, tooth buildup, prep work, anesthesia, and more. Some dental plans may cover some of the costs for non-cosmetic procedures.

How to Fix a Chipped Tooth at Home (Kits & Other Options)
Average cost per tooth
Root canal$500–$1,500

What Not To Do At Home

You absolutely need to see a professional dentist to have your chipped tooth repaired. 

There are several things you should avoid attempting yourself at home. All of these can cause serious damage to your teeth and mouth if you attempt them yourself:

  • Do not attempt to file the jagged edge of a chipped tooth. You may crack or further damage your tooth.

  • Do not attempt to pull out the chipped tooth. Your dentist will aim to save your tooth if possible.

  • Do not attempt to “fill” the chip with any material. A professional needs to do this.

Prevent Future Chipped Teeth

If you chipped a tooth and want to prevent this issue in the future, there are several steps you can take.

  • Go to regular dentist appointments for checkups and cleanings.

  • Practice good oral hygiene.

  • Reduce how much sugar and acidic food you eat.

  • Wear a mouthguard while playing sports.

  • Get treatment for grinding or clenching your teeth. This usually involves wearing a nightguard while you sleep to protect your teeth.

  • Treat acid reflux, which can damage the enamel of your teeth.

  • Avoid chewing hard candy or ice.

  • Get treatment to align crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth. This can reduce stress from an improper bite.

People may chip small pieces out of their teeth due to misalignment issues. When you have crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth, your bite will not line up as it should. This can cause stress, even when you eat normally and do not feel muscle pain or tooth discomfort. 

Stress on your teeth can wear away at the enamel and other layers, which can lead to minor cracks or fractures. You may experience these problems as tooth sensitivity, occasional pain, or plaque buildup. You may also get a chipped tooth as these fractures grow. 

Finding the underlying cause of your chipped tooth is important, but if it is associated with crooked or gapped teeth, you may be able to use at-home aligners to improve both your bite and your smile. 

You start the process by creating impressions of your teeth, which are sent to a doctor for examination. If you are a good fit for at-home aligners, the treatment team will create a care plan and have teeth aligners developed just for your smile. Follow their instructions for when to change out aligners, and stick to the schedule for occasional check-ins regarding your health and happiness with the process.

Be Wary of Short-term Solutions

Ultimately, you’ll need to work with your dentist to treat chipped teeth.

While you wait to see your dentist, you can try some home remedies, like chipped tooth kits, so the chip is not noticeable. This can be a good solution if you have an important event or meeting and need to cover the chip.

These short-term DIY solutions can also protect you from some tooth sensitivity or pain, but a long-term solution is needed.

Chipped Teeth Frequently Asked Questions

Anytime you can find the chipped off bit of a damaged tooth, you should keep it to take with you to the dentist. If the piece is large enough and if you can get to your dentist immediately, it’s possible the segment can be reattached with relative ease. Before racing to the dentist, place the cracked bit in milk to help preserve the enamel.

Regardless of where your tooth is chipped, it’s important that you visit a dentist to determine the best course of action for treatment. 

How deep the chip is will matter more than the location of the chip. Whether it’s on the front or back of the tooth, a chip can weaken the overall structure of the tooth and make further damage and chips more likely. A deep chip can also affect the nerve underneath your tooth, resulting in pain and possible tooth discoloration. 

Because a chip can leave part of your tooth structure exposed, if left untreated, it may cause cavities, decay, nerve damage, and even infection. Dental infections and abscesses are dangerous. There is the possibility of the infection spreading to the neck, jaw, and other parts of the body, through the bloodstream. These complications can be life-threatening.

The cost of repairing a cracked tooth depends on its location and severity. Fillings are the most affordable solution, with a cost of around $100. A root canal procedure is most expensive, costing about $2,000. Talk to your dental service provider for more details on the actual cost of your needed treatment.

Most insurance plans cover the repair of cracked teeth. Some procedures may be deemed cosmetic. If so, those costs won’t get covered.

Some dental practitioners offer flexible payment options when insurance doesn’t cover the procedure.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.