Is It Ever Okay to Ignore a Child's Chipped Tooth?

Dentist Blog

As long as it's not causing them pain or any type of discomfort, is it okay to ignore a child's chipped tooth? Of course, if the damage to the tooth has irritated its nerve and caused toothache, treatment is going to be essential. But otherwise, is there any real urgency with a child's chipped tooth? After all, the tooth will soon make way for a permanent adult tooth.

Professional Assessment

Ignoring any kind of dental injury is never a good idea, even though no treatment may ultimately be necessary. However, only the staff at your local children's dentistry clinic can make that assessment. Any type of chipped tooth (regardless of pain or lack thereof) must be checked out by a dentist. Chances are they'll recommend an x-ray to check for any hidden damage, although the chip may be the worst of it.

Discomfort Elsewhere

Just because the chip isn't causing any pain to the tooth itself, it could still cause discomfort elsewhere. If the chip has given the tooth a sharp edge, this could easily irritate your child's tongue or the soft lining of their mouth. When the tooth is otherwise intact, your child's dentist may simply smooth away the sharp edges using an abrasive strip. The tooth can then function normally until it detaches in preparation for the arrival of its permanent replacement.

Cosmetic Complications

A painlessly chipped tooth could cause emotional pain if the tooth is towards the front of the jaw, and its damaged appearance embarrasses your child. In this case, dental bonding can be performed. This uses a tooth-coloured composite resin, which is the same material used to fill cavities. The tooth is lightly etched to help the resin stick properly, and then the missing fragment of the tooth is reconstructed. This is a permanent restoration, and so with proper care, it should last until the tooth is naturally lost.

Deeper Damage

Reconstruction of the tooth with dental bonding can be recommended in other situations too. After a careful look at the tooth, your child's dentist may notice other problems. For example, a considerable amount of the tooth's protective dental enamel may have been lost, exposing the tooth's inner layers. This can make the tooth more susceptible to decay, and to stop this from happening, dental bonding may be recommended as a precautionary step.

A chipped tooth in a child is an unfortunate situation, but it could have been much worse if it triggered immediate pain. But your child might not be entirely out of the woods, so it's always necessary to have a dentist check the tooth. For more information, visit a children's dentistry clinic near you.


10 January 2023

Teeth And Tears: Dental Dramas Of A School Nurse

I have worked as a school nurse for decades. Children come to me with all sorts of scrapes and bumps and bruises. Black eyes from playing football, sprained wrists from falling off the monkey bars and stomachaches from too many sweets are common complaints. However, the issue that seems to cause the greatest angst is tooth problems. Sometimes a child will have a second tooth knocked out when playing sport and parents arrive in tears. At other times, children come to my office crying because their friends are teasing them about teeth that are discoloured or stick out. I take an active interest in the latest dental news so that I can give parents and children comfort and advice. I have included some of my collected wisdom on these pages. Perhaps this information can help you understand some options when faced with a dental problem. Thank you for reading.