One of the most disagreeable forms of pain is a damaged tooth. Whether your tooth is chipped, cracked, or broken, you’re probably dealing with some fairly significant discomfort, and you’re likely at risk for some lasting, long-term damage if you don’t address it.
There are countless ways a person could chip, crack, or break a tooth. But how can you treat them? And how do you know if it’s within your budget?
If you’ve ever wanted to know the chipped tooth repair cost in the US, this is the article for you. Follow along, and we’ll break down the different types of tooth damage, the symptoms of and treatments for each, and how much you can expect to pay.
Types of Tooth Damage
Teeth are very durable – in fact, tooth enamel is the hardest natural substance in the body, stronger even than bones. However, that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. There are multiple ways that teeth can sustain damage, and they all require some form of broken tooth repair if you’re going to avoid long-lasting issues.
The most common ways that you can damage your teeth are through a chip, a crack, or a break. But what exactly is the difference? Each of these types of damage will require different treatment. Follow along as we discuss each one.
Chipped teeth are one of the most common forms of tooth damage, and can range dramatically in intensity. Sometimes, the enamel of your tooth will chip without you even noticing, and without a visual difference in the appearance of your tooth. That can still be an issue, as it will leave your tooth more vulnerable to further damage or decay.
However, a more seriously chipped tooth can be a significant problem, one that is impossible not to notice. If you chip your tooth enough to expose a nerve, the pain can be overwhelming.
Chipped teeth are common from falls or blows to the face, but can also happen if you bite something unexpectedly hard.
There are a few main ways that a cracked tooth can manifest. The most common – and the least serious – is craze lines. These are just cracks in the outer enamel of the tooth that your dentist can quickly repair.
More serious is when there is a crack in the chewing surface of your tooth. This tends to happen when you bite something too hard and can lead to significant long-term consequences. The longer this type of cracked tooth goes untreated, the deeper the crack can spread down towards the root.
A split tooth is even worse. When your tooth cracks vertically, it can become irreparable if you don’t get it treated quickly, especially if it’s an incisor (as incisors only have one root). As molars have two roots, they are easier to save, but vertical splits are incredibly painful, no matter in what tooth they occur.
Finally, you have vertical root fractures. This is the most serious form of a cracked tooth. A vertical root fracture is similar to a split tooth, except it begins in the root and then spreads upwards towards the top of the tooth. These cause painful inflammation in the gum around the tooth, and can quickly cause infection if left untreated.
The most significant form of tooth damage is a broken tooth. When a large piece of a tooth breaks off, there are several different potential outcomes.
The most notable is when the nerve is exposed, causing considerable pain. In these situations, you might even see the inside of your tooth bleeding. Obviously, you will likely seek attention as soon as possible in this case. Breaks aren’t always this dramatic, but that doesn’t make the less prominent ones any less severe.
Occasionally, you might have a fractured tooth that doesn’t cause you any pain. However, even if you can’t feel it, these breaks can still cause inflammation, and if left untreated, infections and abscesses. If you notice a broken tooth, it’s essential to get it treated, even if you can’t feel it.
Broken teeth can be caused by falls or blows to the face, just like chipped teeth. But they can also be caused by decay over time.
Symptoms of Tooth Damage
Depending on the type of tooth damage, your symptoms could vary dramatically. A small chip or a craze-line crack might not be noticeable at all. Smaller breaks might only be noticeable visually, and if it’s a broken molar in the back of your mouth, that could be difficult to detect.
Conversely, some damaged teeth can expose nerves. That can lead to throbbing, excruciating pain, which radiates out from that point. You might also notice your tooth bleeding. These symptoms are most commonly the result of a broken tooth, but can also be derived from chips or cracks.
Another significant symptom of tooth damage is infections. These can be the most dangerous. When damage comes from or reaches the root of the tooth, that can cause an abscess – a pocket of pus in a tooth, caused by an infection. These are painful and dangerous and require the most dramatic interventions.
Typical Cost of Tooth Repair
The cost of your tooth repair, of course, depends on the type of treatment you require. Broken tooth treatment will typically fall under one of six categories: cosmetic contouring, fillings, crowns, veneers, root canals, or extractions. Let’s take a look at each one.
- Cosmetic contouring – If you have a small chip in your enamel or craze lines, that can likely be treated through cosmetic contouring. That is simply smoothing and polishing the rough chip or line, and evening out your tooth’s enamel. Costs are generally $50 – $300 per tooth.
- Fillings – Some chips and cracks can be treated by shaping and bonding dental material to fill in the gap. The dentist will shape and finish these fillings, to make it look and function as if it were a natural tooth. Fillings range widely in price depending on the type of material used, ranging from $50 to $150 for an amalgam filling, $100 to $300 for a composite filling, and $300 to $4000 for a gold filling.
- Root canal – When the pulp of the tooth has been damaged or infected, the only way to save the root is to clean out and then fill the damaged pulp. Root canals are typically an unpleasant and more invasive treatment, and can cost anywhere from $600 to $1500 depending on which tooth is being operated on.
- Extraction – The most dramatic option; when a root is damaged too extensively, your tooth may not be salvageable. In this case, the best path forward is extraction. The tooth will have to be removed and, eventually, replaced with some form of artificial tooth or implant. Straightforward tooth extractions cost somewhere in the range of $75 to $300, while more complicated tooth removal procedures can cost as much as $800.
- Veneers – Once damaged teeth have been cleaned up and allowed to heal, veneers can be a solution to mask the damage. These are custom-crafted for each patient. Prices for veneers vary depending on the material used, starting at around $250 to $1200 for composite veneers, with porcelain veneers costing $900 to $2500.
- Crowns – Crowns are the approach when damage is more extensive and requires a more comprehensive repair. Once the damage is cleaned up and allowed to heal, dentists will craft a crown and bond it to the natural root of the tooth. Prices for crowns vary depending on the material used, starting at around $400 to $800 for resin crowns, $500 to $1500 for metal crowns, and $800 to $2000 for ceramic or porcelain crowns.
Avoiding Tooth Damage
So, now you know the price of cracked tooth treatment. But the best-case scenario, of course, is to avoid tooth damage altogether. Avoiding tooth damage requires a holistic approach, but there are a few specific tactics that can make a significant difference.
The first, of course, is to practice proper dental hygiene. When teeth decay, they become exponentially more susceptible to damage and infection. At a minimum, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. If you’re looking to take an extra step, though, you can use mouthwash and even drink fluoride water.
From there, it’s important to protect your teeth from trauma. One of the leading causes of chipped, cracked, or broken teeth is blows to the face. While you can’t prevent falls and other accidents, you can protect your teeth in other ways. If you’re playing a sport, for example, be sure to wear a mouthguard.
In the end, there is no way to guarantee you won’t suffer damaged teeth. But there are steps you can take to keep your teeth as healthy as possible.