Chipped teeth can not only be an issue for your overall oral health, affecting the roots of the teeth and appearance, but they can also be painful. Chipped or cracked teeth can cause pain when chewing or exposed to hot or cold temperatures. Pain can occur erratically as well.
In some cases, you might not have symptoms. However, a fracture or missing piece of the tooth can be visible.
Treatment for a chipped or cracked tooth varies depending on the extent of the crack or chip. Smaller cracks or chips may be repaired easily. Others may require more serious treatment.
Repairing a Chipped Tooth
The extent of your chipped tooth can impact the type of treatment and repair option that is needed. In general, there are four main methods for repairing a chipped tooth:
- Dental bonding
- Dental Implants
Dental bonding is typically the least expensive, quickest, and easiest way to repair a chipped tooth, with veneers being next. Crowns are used for more extensively chipped or broken teeth when the entire top needs to be replaced. Dental implants are required when the entire tooth needs to be replaced.
Tooth Bonding Costs
Dental bonding involves putting a tooth-colored composite resin material onto the tooth and using a specialized light to set it. This typically costs between $300 and $600 on average. The price for dental bonding is going to depend on the location of your chipped tooth, how severe it is, the extent and difficulty of the procedure, and where you have the procedure done.
Dental bonding typically lasts 3 to 10 years before needing to be touched up. There is no real aftercare needed, but the bonding may need to be refreshed after several years.
Veneers use a variety of materials, usually porcelain or a composite resin, to cover up chipped or broken teeth to improve your smile. The price will depend on several factors, including:
- Type of veneer used.
- Location of the tooth.
- Difficulty of the procedure.
- Your geographical location.
- Oral health.
Traditional veneers are made from a porcelain material and cost between $925 and $2,500.
Lumineers are a brand-name type of veneer that generally cost a little less, require less prep time, and use a smaller amount of material to cover the tooth. These cost between $800 and $2,000. Veneers can take more than one appointment to place. They generally last 10 to 20 years depending on the type.
A crown can be used to repair a broken tooth with a more severe chip. It involves placing a cap over the tooth to restore its shape.3 Crowns can be made out of a variety of materials, which can influence the cost.
Typically, a crown will cost between $1,100 and $1,500 on average. However, crowns made out of all porcelain materials can cost quite a bit more.
It usually takes at least two visits to place a crown. Crowns generally last 5 to 15 years. They might need to be replaced a few times throughout your life.
Dental Implant Costs
When a chipped tooth ends up compromising most or all of the tooth, it may need to be extracted. Then, a dental implant will be placed in its space.
Dental implants are the most expensive, and generally last, option for repairing a chipped tooth. The tooth must be significantly broken to require this method.
Dental implants can cost between $3,000 and $5,000 per tooth. They require quite a bit of prep and aftercare. Many of the necessary services for placing the implant, such as x-rays, tooth extraction, and medications, are not included in this price.
Does insurance cover the costs of repairing a cracked tooth?
- Dental bonding. Insurance may cover dental bonding if it is deemed to be for medical purposes and not just cosmetic reasons.
- Most of the time, veneers are considered to be cosmetic. As a result, they are not likely to be covered by dental insurance.
- Crowns are often covered by insurance up to 50 percent, as they are often classified as medically necessary.
- Dental implant. For dental implants, Insurance may cover part of the cost, but there are often annual and lifetime maximum amounts. You will still likely be paying quite a bit out-of-pocket for a dental implant.
Options to Pay for Chipped Tooth Repair
The first thing to look at when determining how to pay to repair a chipped tooth is your insurance policy and plan. Dental insurance can provide coverage for medically necessary procedures. If the chip repair is merely cosmetic, insurance coverage will not apply.
Dental discount plans often provide low-cost options for chipped tooth repair if you stay in-network and use specific providers. Most providers will also have financing options and payment plans that can help you find a way to budget for your chipped tooth repair.
Talk to a dental professional about which method is the most cost-effective. They can help you find the best way to repair your chipped tooth within your budget.
What’s the difference between a chipped and cracked tooth?
A chipped tooth occurs when part of the tooth breaks off. A cracked tooth occurs when a crack extends through the tooth, but the tooth remains intact.
Can you smooth out a cracked tooth?
A cracked tooth can be smoothed out by a dentist, using composite resin or veneers.
What Happens if I Don’t Fix a Chipped Tooth?
Neglecting a chipped tooth can lead to more damage and dental care costs. If the chip exposes the dentin or pulp of the tooth, an infection can occur. This may indicate the need for a root canal or tooth extraction. If the fracture gets worse and extends into the roots, you’ll need to remove the tooth and get an implant. These procedures are much more complicated and costly than fillings, bonding, and onlays. It’s best to seek treatment right away to minimize damage.
What do I do when I have a chip tooth?
If you chip a tooth, call your dentist immediately and schedule an office visit.
Once you set up an appointment, there are a few things you can do to help relieve pain and prevent it from worsening:
- Take pain medication such as acetaminophen or your preferred over-the-counter pain reliever.
- Rinse with saltwater to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria around the wound.
- Cover any sharp edges in paraffin wax or sugarless chewing gum to prevent cuts on your tongue, lip, and cheek.
- Only eat soft foods and avoid biting down on the tooth. If you can schedule an emergency dental visit, avoid eating altogether until your appointment.
Is a Chipped Tooth a Dental Emergency?
A chip is considered a dental emergency if the tooth is:
- Causing pain
- Fully fractured (extending beyond the tooth enamel)
- Completely knocked out