The incisors are the flat-looking set of teeth in the forward center of both the upper and lower jaw. Incisors, which are also called simply the "two front teeth", are the first teeth to latch onto food you are eating. The incisors then pass the food on back to the premolars and molars for grinding the food so that it is safe to swallow. A chipped incisor is highly noticeable both from a chewing standpoint and in the cosmetic standpoint.

A cosmetic dentist in any dentistry office can fix your chipped incisor using a few potential techniques. The treatment goal is to maintain the strength of the incisor while also covering any cosmetic defects. The appropriate treatments will likely come down to a matter of how severe the chip is and where the chip is located.

Dental Crown  

Substantial chipping to an incisor can greatly threaten the tooth's life since an incisor is a relatively narrow tooth, which relies on weight distribution for protection. Your dentist will therefore want to both cover the cosmetic flaw of the chip while also strengthening the existing tooth against further damage. A dental crown can perform both of these tasks.

Your dentist will take molds of the chipped tooth and use the molds to create an artificial covering that will fit snugly around the exterior of your tooth and bind into place using bonding cement. Porcelain-based crowns offer the most natural look, which is an important consideration for an incisor located prominently in the front of your mouth.

There are two different types of porcelain crowns to consider: all porcelain and metal-backed porcelain. The former offers the most natural look but is more prone to chipping, which can be a concern with the repeated bite force in the incisors. Metal-backed porcelain is stronger and still mostly natural looking, but there will be a line of metal faintly visible near where the tooth meets the gums.

Dental Veneer

A smaller chip might not require as drastic of action as a dental crown. Your dentist might instead opt to place a porcelain veneer. While a dental crown covers the entire tooth, a veneer only covers the front where the damage was located. A veneer therefore requires that most of the incisor is still intact and strong.

The veneer is created in a lab based on molds of your tooth and then adhered with a bio-cement. Your dentist will need to lightly sand down the front of the tooth and the chip to both help with bonding and to remove any sharp edges that could loosen the bond over time. 

For more information, contact a practice like Omega Dental oral surgery.

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