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How to Fix a Chipped Tooth

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Woman smiling and showing chipped tooth.

Sometimes, the wrong bite or a slip and fall can lead to a chipped tooth. A chipped tooth is a common issue that can be easily fixed, but sometimes it is a dental emergency

There are many ways to fix a chipped tooth, including reattaching the broken piece, veneers, dental bonding, or a root canal and crown. Your dentist can determine the best treatment after assessing the damage. 

The severity of your tooth damage can impact which treatment is best for your needs. 

What Is a Chipped Tooth?

A chipped tooth occurs when a small piece of your tooth breaks off due to trauma or natural wear and tear. Chipped teeth are common and can happen to anyone. They can be shallow or deep and cause discomfort. 

If you have a chipped tooth, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist. They can evaluate the damage and determine the best way to fix it. 

What Causes a Chipped Tooth?

Many patients experience a chipped tooth suddenly when they fall or get into an accident. Tooth decay can also weaken the tooth and increase the risk of chips. Even a small chip may cause discomfort or sensitivity, so it’s essential to address it early to prevent future complications.

Common causes of a chipped tooth include: 

  • Falling or other trauma to the tooth
  • Grinding your teeth while sleeping
  • Biting on hard surfaces or foods
  • Playing sports without a mouthguard

Is a Chipped Tooth an Emergency? 

A chipped tooth isn’t always an emergency, but it’s worth getting checked out by a dentist. Severe damage can affect the inner layers of your tooth, placing the tooth at risk and should be addressed immediately. Minor chips can be monitored and treated during a regular appointment. 

If you experience severe pain or bleeding, or the chip affects your ability to eat or speak, it may be considered an emergency and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Minor chips don’t require a rush to the dentist, but they can help restore your tooth to prevent future complications. 

What to Do If You Chip Your Tooth

If you chip your tooth, there are a few things to do first. Don’t try to handle things alone—visit your dentist, and they can assess the damage and recommend the best way to restore your smile. 

Take the following steps

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the tooth.
  • Apply pressure to the area to stop any bleeding.
  • Use a cold compress and over-the-counter pain medication (if needed) to reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Wrap up the broken-off piece of tooth if you can find it.
  • Visit your dentist as soon as possible for treatment.

How Can You Fix a Chipped Tooth?

Your dentist can repair a chipped tooth in several different ways. 


If you chip a tooth, reattachment can restore its appearance and function. If possible, find the piece that broke off, apply pressure to the damaged area if it’s bleeding, and use a cold compress to reduce swelling before visiting your dentist.

Reattachment is a simple procedure typically done in one visit.


Veneers are thin shells that fit over your existing teeth, creating a smooth, natural-looking surface. They are minimally invasive and can cover tooth damage like chips, cracks, and gaps. With proper care, veneers can last for years. 

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding reshapes and covers the damaged area to repair your tooth. This quick procedure can be done in a single office visit with minimal anesthesia. Bonding uses a tooth-coloured composite material to restore the appearance and function of your natural tooth.

During treatment, your dentist roughens the tooth’s surface, adds a bonding agent, and then applies a composite resin that hardens under UV light. 

A set of dental crowns against a blue background.

Root Canal

Root canals and crowns can help treat severely chipped teeth. 

A root canal removes the damaged pulp from inside the tooth and is covered by a crown to protect and restore its function. 

Root canals are typically recommended when a chip or crack extends deep into the tooth, affecting the nerves and blood vessels. In some cases, a root canal may also be necessary after trauma or injury to the tooth.

Know What to Do If You Chip Your Tooth

A chipped tooth can vary in severity, but always have the damage assessed and treated by your dentist. They have many ways to help repair your tooth and get your smile back—whether through reattachment, veneers, or another treatment. Don’t ignore damage to your teeth. Visit Marks Dentistry if you experience a chipped tooth or other dental emergency.

Written by Dr. Jonah Marks

Dr. Jonah Marks received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Schulich School of Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. During his time at Schulich, Dr. Marks volunteered at Schulich’s Dental Outreach Community Services, providing pro bono dental treatment to underprivileged patients in London, Ontario. He currently provides pro bono work for LAMP Community Health Care Centre and the Alpha Omega Dental Volunteer Program. In addition, Dr. Marks travelled to Nicaragua where he provided dental care in underserved communities.

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