Causes and How to Treat Chips and Wear on Teeth

Teeth actually can chip fairly easily. You could chip a tooth simply from biting down on a small bit of gristle or a seed while you are eating, in a fall or in an accident. Teeth will also wear down eventually. There is no need to just live with the damage, though. Consider the options and talk to your dentist about having your tooth, or teeth, repaired.


Invisalign® is a clear, molded plastic appliance that slowly aligns your teeth. The dentist takes a mold of your teeth then orders the Invisalign® appliance which fits over them like a mouthguard. The Invisalign® appliance adjusts the position of the teeth .25 to .3 mm every two weeks. It is useful for slight tooth alignments but, when a tooth has been removed or lost, Invisalign® is not the best way to close the space. Teeth tend to tip as the gap left by the missing tooth closes which throws off your bite alignment.

According to Dr. Paul H. Ling and Dr. Xiem Phan, “… the Invisalign® appliance has very limited control over precise tooth movements.”

Direct Bonding

Dental bonding is a good option when your teeth are chipped, worn down or severely stained. It is a procedure that is done by your dentist or a prosthodontist. A prosthodontist is a specialist that your dentist might recommend. Bonding, or bonded restoration, is not painful. Your dentist, or the prosthodontist, simply affixes a composite resin to your chipped or worn teeth. The resin is applied to your tooth, or teeth, in layers. After the last layer is applied and hardens, the dentist or prosthodontist shapes the bonded resin and polishes it up so that it is nice and smooth. The colour of the bonded resin will match the colour of your other teeth. The result is a very natural-looking, sturdy tooth that will last for many years. Your dentist may eventually need to give the tooth, or teeth, a light “touch up” with a fresh layer of resin but dental bonding is a good, long-lasting repair option.

Veneers or Crowns

Veneers are made from composite resin or porcelain. They are used to repair broken, chipped, worn or severely stained teeth. A veneer is a very thin layer of material that is affixed to the front of each tooth. Porcelain is a bit more expensive but it is more durable and does not stain or change colour over time. Porcelain will also take a minimum of two trips to the dentist. Your dentist will actually remove some of the natural enamel before applying porcelain veneers so they will fit properly. He or she will then apply temporary veneers to protect your teeth until the permanent porcelain veneers can be affixed. When you opt for resin veneers, you will only need to make one trip to the dentist. Resin veneers are applied in the same way as direct dental bonding.

The Canadian Dental Association says, “You may need a crown if you have a root canal, a large filling in a tooth or a broken tooth.”

Crowns or caps are actually artificial teeth that cover an entire broken or damaged tooth. What’s left of the old tooth is ground down then the dentist or prosthodontist takes an impression to make a mold. The ground down tooth is capped with a temporary cap to protect it until the crown or permanent cap is ready. When you go back in, the temporary cap is removed and the permanent cap is affixed over the damaged tooth. This is a fairly expensive procedure but it should last about 10 years.

Reshape and Contour

Reshaping or contouring is a good, fairly inexpensive option for cosmetic improvements when you chip a tooth or if your teeth are just badly worn. Your dentist simply grinds the surface down a bit to give the tooth a smooth, even surface. It can also be done to repair minor tooth overlaps that make it difficult to keep your teeth clean. This procedure is usually only recommended to repair small chips or slightly uneven wear.


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