Chipping of the tooth is a common problem seen in young adults. The problem becomes more serious when this chipping involves the front tooth. At times patients get confused, regarding various treatment options for these chipped teeth. In this article, we are going to demystify all the information related to the treatment of the chipped tooth. 


Chipping of teeth can occur due to various reasons. The common reason in young adults will be trauma. Many children and teens face this problem. It can occur during playing or when they indulge in some fight.

The second reason could be due to dental caries. Caries between teeth try to weaken the margins of the tooth, resulting in chipping of the tooth.

The third common reason is due to severe attrition or worn out teeth. This is commonly seen in older individuals who chew or grind their teeth a lot. This can result in worn-out tooth surfaces leaving sharp and pointed margins. These margins tend to break resulting in a chipped tooth.

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The fourth and final reason can be a defect in tooth formation. There are some conditions like dental fluorosis [READ MORE] and Amelogenesis imperfect [READ MORE] where the tooth surfaces chip off constantly. These conditions are usually diagnosed by your dentist.


Tooth chipping can be of 3 types. To explain this we should know the layers of tooth. Usually, every teeth has 3 layers in its crown. They are inner layer called PULP, the middle layer called DENTIN, an outer most layer called ENAMEL.

ENAMEL is the strongest layer of teeth and is white in colour. If chipping of the tooth involves only enamel, the patient usually will not have any pain. Such tooth can be restored with a cosmetic filling or can be left untreated IF IT IS VERY MINOR. 

The middle layer or DENTIN contains many tubules which contain nerve endings. If chipping of tooth involves this layer, then patient usually senses sensitivity. This condition can be treated with a cosmetic filling like COMPOSITES.

The inner layer or PULP contains nerves and blood vessels. It is a vital region of teeth. If chipping involves PULP, then this is a serious problem. Patient experiences severe pain, and it has to be treated as early as possible. It usually requires ROOT CANAL TREATMENT.

Can a damaged tooth repair itself?

Chipped tooth cannot repair itself. But the severity of chipping decides whether it requires any treatment or not. Usually, minor chipping of tooth doesn’t require any treatment. They do not produce any pain.

Is a chipped tooth a dental emergency?

It depends on how severe the chipping is. If the chipped tooth involves PULP [as described above], then it has to be treated as early as possible. The treatment option will be decided by the dentist after a thorough examination.

How much does it cost to repair a chipped tooth?

It depends on the type of treatment and the severity of chipping. If the chipping is confined only to DENTIN, then it can be treated with a cosmetic filling or a CROWN. Usually a composite filling can cost somewhere $200 to $250. There are wide varieties of dental crowns to opt for. Usually they range from $1000 to $3000 or even more.

But if the chipping involves PULP, then the treatment option changes to ROOT CANAL THERAPY, which costs around $1500 to $1800. These costs do vary from region to region. It has to be followed by crown placement. Hence the whole treatment cost could range from $2500 to $5000.

Chipped tooth treatment options

There are many treatment options for chipped tooth. 

Chipped front tooth: Chipping in a front tooth has a more aesthetic effect on face when compared to back tooth or molars. But both tooth have a devastating effect on oral cavity if not treated at right time. 

I have seen many people cautious about chipping of the front tooth and get them treated as early as possible. But I have also seen the same people neglecting to undergo treatment for their chipped molar tooth [back tooth]. 

Chipped back tooth [molars]: Treatment of a chipped molar tooth is as important as a chipped front tooth. It is even more important to treat a chipped molar than a chipped front tooth because molars play key role in digestion. They are the main grinders of food and aid in proper churning of food.

There are various treatment options for chipped tooth starting from simple composite filling to crowns. These treatments options are given in the table below for better understanding. However, it is your dentist who has to decide regarding which treatment suits you the best.

Treatment options for chipped tooth

Composite/Cosmetic filling

If the tooth is completely pain-free and the chipping is very minor, then one can proceed with a cosmetic filling.

Root canal

If the tooth is painful and has undergone change in its color from white to mild or dark grey, it is an indication of damaged tooth or pulp. In such cases Root canal is mandatory.


If a considerable amount of tooth has been lost in chipping, where the cosmetic filling cannot be done, then an economical way of treating it is through veneers.


If an extensive amount of tooth has been lost in chipping, then the only way of treating it is through placement of crown after root canal therapy.

What does a chipped tooth feel like?

Generally, it produces sensitivity in severe conditions. Usually, you can see the chipped portion of teeth in the front region. It has a devastating effect on facial aesthetics.

What to do when you chip your tooth?

  • This is a good question to ask. A chipped tooth will be completely asymptomatic if it is minor chipping. That is when it involves only enamel.
  • When chipping involves DENTIN, then the patient may feel some sensitivity.
  • But when chipping involves PULP, then the patient may feel severe pain. 

Early intervention can save your teeth. When you find chipped teeth, consult your dentist in no time and get it checked thoroughly. All chipped tooth may not require treatment. But some may require prompt treatment, which can save you from painful episodes.

What happens if you don’t fix a chipped tooth?

Again it depends on the severity of chipping. Mild chipping which involves only ENAMEL may not have any harmful effect on tooth. But if chipping involves more than enamel, then it can slowly irritate the inner tissues, resulting in long term damage to the tooth. This can result in complete tooth loss or severe pain.

Will a chipped tooth stop hurting?

Yes! It may. But it doesn’t mean that the tooth has been healed. The internal damage still continuous even though pain may not persist. It can result in repeated episodes of pain with much severe damage after some time.

Why are my teeth chipping easily?

Continuous chipping of the tooth is a problem. It can occur in some conditions like Amelogenesis imperfecta, Dentinogenesis imperfecta and dental fluorosis. Hence consult your dentist to get a correct diagnosis.

Can a chipped tooth die?

Yes! If chipping involves PULP, then a chipped tooth becomes non-vital. 

How can I temporarily fix a chipped tooth?

If the chipped tooth pains a lot, then we can use over the counter medication for relief. Other than this there is no temporary fixation. It is always better to have your teeth checked by the dentist for correct treatment.

Can a chipped tooth regrow?

No! A chipped tooth never grows again. It has to be treated. The treatment options were already mentioned above.

Can a broken tooth come out on its own?

It depends on the severity of trauma. A severely broken tooth usually becomes mobiles and comes out on its own. But in most cases, they have to be removed surgically.

Can a hairline crack in a tooth heal itself?

Yes! It can. Usually an incomplete hairline fracture doesn’t pain because, the tooth forms an extra dentin (reparative dentin) under it. But if it starts hurting and is deep enough, then the best thing to do is to GET IT TREATED.

The below text gives a detailed description on how to proceed after one gets his tooth chipped.


Recent chipping of tooth:

 Consult your dentist for complete examination. Sometimes chipping can be treated by a simple filling, or it may require a complex procedure like root canal. 

Extensive damage of tooth may require placement of veneers or crowns over them.

Already have a chipped tooth since years [eg: 2 years old]:

 The first evaluation should be on pain.

Question yourself is it painful now or not. 

A non painful chipped tooth may require simple filling. 

A painful chipped tooth may indicate damaged pulp, which requires Root canal treatment.

By now i think you got all the information related to chipping of teeth & their solutions. If you have any query, kindly ask us through comments below. We are happy to answer you.

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Further reads

Dr. Kiran



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