If you have chipped off just a small piece of tooth enamel, Dr. Ambrose may repair the damage with a filling. 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 adhere 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 a light to harden the material.
If a large piece of tooth breaks off or the tooth has a lot of decay, you may need a crown to replace the missing tooth structure. Permanent crowns can be made from metal, porcelain fused to metal, all resin, or all ceramic. Different types have different benefits. Typically crown procedures take two visits. At the first appointment the dentist will remove part of the remaining tooth in order to cover it with a crown, or tooth-shaped cap. Impressions will be taken and you will go home with a temporary crown. At the second visit, the temporary crown is removed and permanent crown is bonded into place.
If a front tooth is broken or chipped, a dental veneer can make it look whole and healthy again. A dental veneer is a thin shell of tooth-colored porcelain or resin composite material that covers the whole front of the tooth (much like a false nail covers a fingernail) with a thicker section to replace the broken part of the tooth.
To prepare your tooth, your dentist will remove from about 0.3 to 1.2 millimeters of enamel from its surface. Next the dentist will make an impression of the tooth to be sent to a dental laboratory, which will make the veneer. When the veneer is ready, usually a week or two later, you'll need to go back to the dentist to have it placed. To place the veneer, your dentist will first etch the surface of the tooth with a liquid to roughen it. The dentist then applies a special cement to the veneer and places the veneer on the prepared tooth. Once the veneer is in position, your dentist will use a special light to activate chemicals in the cement to make it harden quickly.