How to Prepare and Repair a Chipped or Broken Tooth

Whether it’s a primary or permanent tooth, chips and breaks can happen. Many tooth chips can be repaired but there are important steps you can take at home to protect the tooth before you get to see the dentist. A quick response by parents can sometimes mean the difference between preserving the tooth and losing it.

Falling down the wrong way, chewing too hard on a piece of candy, nighttime teeth grinding, and tooth decay are all be contributing factors to teeth chipping.

How to manage the chipped tooth before you get to see your PDA dentist:

  • If the chip is causing pain, give your child acetaminophen according to their proper dosage or another over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Rinse with one cup of salted water several times per day. This helps remove bacteria and prevent infection.
  • If the tooth has a sharp or jagged edge, you can purchase wax at your local pharmacy. This wax is the same wax your child may use for their braces and can be applied to the tooth to soften the edges and keep it from cutting the inside of the cheek or lip.
  • Eat soft foods and avoid biting down on the tooth.

Treatments for broken or chipped teeth may vary depending on the severity of the damage. With small chips and baby teeth, we can usually bond or fill the tooth in one office visit. If the tooth is badly damaged it may require different types of care depending on location and depth of the break.

Dental Filling or Bonding

If you have chipped off just a small piece of tooth enamel, your PDA dentist may repair the damage with a filling. If the repair is to a front tooth or can be seen when you smile, your dentist will likely use a procedure called bonding, which uses a tooth-colored composite resin.

Bonding is a simple procedure that typically does not require numbing the tooth. To bond a tooth, the dentist first etches its surface with a liquid or gel to roughen it and make the bonding material stick to it. Next, the dentist applies an adhesive material to the tooth followed by a tooth-colored resin. After shaping the bonding material to look like a natural tooth, the dentist uses an ultraviolet light to harden the material.[1]

The best way to prevent a chip due to tooth decay is to ensure your child sees their pediatric dentist twice per year for exams and X-rays and to brush and floss twice daily.

Pediatric Dental Associates of Alabama is led by top-rated pediatric dentists with locations in Birmingham, Cullman, Hoover, Medplex, Oxford and Pell City. When looking for your child’s dentist, know that we aspire to be the premier provider of pediatric dental services in Alabama. We also provide orthodontics in our Hoover, Medplex and Cullman locations. Beautiful smiles are our specialty!



[1] Accessed July 14, 2022.

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