I have a small chip on a front tooth. I mentioned I find it embarrassing to my dentist. He said he can fix it. I was thrilled at first, but then realized by fix he means cover the whole tooth with a dental crown. It’s a healthy tooth and the chip is small. I don’t really want to grind it down to a nub. What are my options?
Kim S. – Nevada
I’m in agreement with you. This is a huge overtreatment. I’m dumbfounded that your dentist even suggested it. The only reason I can think of is he’s not completed a lot of training in cosmetic dentistry. If he had, he’d know that the best way to fix a small chipped tooth is dental bonding. Don’t pressure him to do the procedure. It has to be done free-hand which does require some artistry. He’s likely not ready to do that. That may be why he suggested a crown. It might be the only procedure he knows how to do in this situation. However, even if the chip was so large it required a crown, I wouldn’t let any dentist do it. You’re talking about your front tooth. You want a skilled cosmetic dentist to match it to your other teeth and make it look natural.
Anytime you’re making a cosmetic change to your teeth, you want to evaluate what you’ll want in the long term. If you’re happy with your smile and just want to fix this chip, then great, bonding will be all you need. But, sometimes, you have other goals for your smile too. If that’s the case, now is the time to do other things. Once the crown is finished. you’d have to have an entirely new crown made to change anything about it.
The first thing to consider is if you’re happy with the color of your teeth. If not, get them whitened before you do the crown. Then the crown can match the new color of your whitened teeth. You can do that the traditional way using take-home whitening to control the level of whiteness you get, or you can do it in one appointment and just get their maximum whitening.
If there are other issues you’ve wanted to change, such as the shape and size of your teeth porcelain veneers are the way to go. They’ll give you a complete smile makeover. This will simultaneously take care of the chip, color, and any other changes you’d like.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Fred Arnold.