Q: What should I do for my child’s chipped tooth?
A: If your child fractures or chips a tooth, call your dentist instead of the emergency department. Do this for any dental emergency. Hospitals seldom have dentists on staff. Most dentists have an emergency hotline you can call when an accident occurs outside of operating hours.
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Preserve the tooth portion that broke off. And, it’s important to save it in the proper medium. Cold milk or a product called Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution will offer best results. Either will help maintain the tooth’s viability.
Do not store the tooth dry or in water, contact lens solution or yogurt.
For a smaller fracture, your dentist typically will use a composite to bond the chipped portion to the remaining tooth. This restoration should last 10 to 15 years. However, it may stain and fracture over time.
If a large segment breaks off — and for older children — the dentist may repair it by applying a veneer or crown.
—Pediatric dentist Trista Onesti, DDS