How much does it cost to fix a chipped tooth?

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There are several common factors when determining how much to fix broken teeth.

Cracking or chipping your tooth can happen at any time. However, your dentist has many treatment options if you find yourself with a chipped tooth. Regardless of the severity of the chip or crack it is a good idea to see your dentist immediately so that they can determine the best treatment moving forward.

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Cracking your tooth can be painful but it’s fairly common. Although you’ll need to visit your dentist, the type of treatment they perform typically will vary from no treatment for tiny cracks to bonding, veneers or crowns depending on factors such as the location, type, and severity of the crack.

No matter what the cause, it is important to get your chipped or cracked tooth examined by a dentist as soon as possible. Leaving a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth untreated is a risky decision that could prove costly. Sometimes, when you crack your tooth, it can expose the root to bacteria that are present in your mouth, the root could then become infected and that infection could, potentially, move from your tooth into your head and neck area¹.

What causes cracked teeth

There are many different things that may cause a tooth to get chipped or cracked. Cracked and chipped teeth are frequently caused by the following:

  • Chewing hard foods, such as ice, popcorn kernels or hard candy²

  • Tooth clenching or tooth grinding³

  • Sports injuries

  • Using your teeth to cut things

  • General wear and tear

How does a dentist fix a chipped tooth?

If you’ve chipped or cracked your tooth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible⁴. Before you visit the dentist, you should rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and put a cold compress on your face to help reduce swelling⁵. Even a small chip could turn into a larger issue if not treated by a dentist.

The type of chipped or cracked tooth treatment your dentist performs will typically depend on the location, type, and severity of the chip or crack⁶. An in-office visit will help you and your dentist best determine the appropriate method of treatment, but your dentist may treat your chipped or cracked tooth in one of the following ways:

  • Bonding - Bonding is a common method of treatment to fill tooth cracks and repair tooth chips. Bonding occurs when a plastic resin or porcelain material is used to fill the crack to restore the shape of the tooth⁷. If the chip is on the edge of your tooth, the dentist will shape and smooth the resin so that it is smooth and comfortable in your mouth.

  • Veneers - Veneers are thin, custom-made shells designed to cover the front side of teeth⁸. They’re an attractive (though usually rather expensive) option for correcting chipped or cracked teeth.

  • Crowns – One of the most common treatments for cracked teeth, a dental crown is a cover or cap that can help protect a weak or broken tooth and restore it to its normal shape⁹.

  • No treatment - In some cases, your dentist may recommend no dental treatment at all, as tiny tooth cracks are common and often don’t cause problems. Still, even if the crack appears small to you, it’s best to consult your dentist¹⁰.

It’s important to note that while tooth cracks and fractures typically can be treated, they may not heal completely as broken bones do. Even after treatment, a crack may get worse, which can result in tooth loss¹¹. However, treating your cracked or chipped tooth can still help alleviate pain, reduce discomfort, and help your tooth work normally for years after treatment.

How much to fix a chipped tooth? Costs to fix a chipped tooth

The cost of fixing a cracked tooth can vary greatly based on the type of treatment you need, the affected tooth, the severity of the crack, among other factors. For example, certain brand of veneers can cost between $700 to $1,300¹² per tooth and crowns can cost between $500 and $3000, depending on material and location¹³. Dental bonding tends to be less expensive starting at $100 per tooth, making it a more affordable option¹⁴.

Treatment procedures for fixing a cracked tooth can be covered by dental insurance. The cost of not fixing a cracked tooth can be even greater. If left unchecked, a cracked tooth may require other costly treatments down the road, including root canals or extraction. If you suspect you may have a cracked or chipped tooth, be sure to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Can a chipped tooth be fixed? Types of tooth cracks

Not all teeth crack in the same way. Depending on the cause and severity your dentist may recommend different treatment options. It is also possible for a small chip to evolve and get worse over time, what starts as a small chip that requires a bonding treatment could turn into a split tooth that requires extraction if you don’t get treatment.

There are a number of common types of tooth fractures, varying in terms of severity¹⁵:

  • Craze lines - Craze lines are tiny cracks in the teeth that cause no pain and affect the outer enamel¹⁶. These types of cracks are very common in adult teeth. While craze lines may cause your teeth to look different, they are harmless and do not require dental treatment. However, if you do not like the look of craze lines your dentist can whiten them for you.

  • Cracked tooth - This type of tooth crack starts at the chewing surface of your tooth and extends down toward the root. Treatment for a cracked tooth typically depends on severity, for less severe cracks your dentist may use a bonding treatment, for more severe cracks your dentist may install a crown. If the crack impacts the pulp of the tooth, then you may need your dentist may recommend a root canal. However, if the crack extends below the gum line, the tooth may require extraction.

  • Fractured cusp - A fractured cusp occurs when a piece of a tooth’s chewing surface breaks off, often around a filling. Your dentist will treat a fractured cusp differently depending on the severity. If the fracture doesn’t impact the pulp of the tooth a basic filling or crown may fix it, however if it does impact the pulp then your dentist may recommend a root canal along with a crown¹⁷.

  • Vertical root fracture - Vertical root fractures begin at the root of the tooth and extend upward, towards the chewing surface. This type of tooth crack usually shows minimal signs and symptoms, making it difficult to detect. For vertical root fractures the treatment typically is tooth extraction¹⁸.

  • Split tooth - A split tooth occurs when a tooth is split into two separate parts, often as a result of an untreated cracked tooth. Though a split tooth cannot be saved intact, part of the tooth may be salvageable. To treat split tooth your dentist will extract all or part of the tooth depending on the severity and location of the crack¹⁹.

All of these treatments can become costly, however, having dental insurance can help offset the cost. Dental insurance coverage does typically have a waiting period on procedures such as crowns and root canals, meaning you cannot wait until you chip your tooth to buy dental coverage, you need it in force before your tooth gets chipped. If you do not have dental insurance right now, it may be a good idea to consider purchasing dental coverage.

How long does it take to fix a chipped tooth & Insights

The amount of time that it takes to fix a chipped tooth depends on the location and severity of the chip, among other factors. For small chips, you can be in and out from your dentist’s office within one office visit²⁰. However, if your chip or cracked tooth requires a root canal and crown it may take 2 visits to the dentist, or more, to complete the entire procedure²¹.

Typically, buying dental insurance is a straightforward process and can typically be completed entirely online. If you are shopping for a dental insurance plan it is important to understand the ins-and-outs of each plan including coverage, network, and all associated costs. Guardian Direct® has resources available on our website that can help you do research so that you can make informed decisions about dental insurance for you and your family.

Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.

Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.


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