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January 12, 2021

small chip on front tooth

My Child Chipped Their Tooth – Now What?

Whether your child loves to play tough or simply wants to eat a hard and crunchy snack, accidents happen! If one of these ends in the result of a chipped tooth, stay calm, we can help. Chipping a tooth is much more common than we think and children are more prone to it because as they grow, their teeth tend to stick out while settling into alignment making them more susceptible to injury. Despite this being a common event, if you’ve never experienced it before it’s understandable to be worried. Here’s what you should do if your child has chipped their tooth.

Initial Reaction

The tooth is chipped and you’re trying to calm your child. The American Dental Association (ADA) states the first thing to do is rinse their mouth with warm water and put a cold compress to the area to prevent swelling. Depending on how the tooth was chipped, sometimes the child is in pain and sometimes they aren’t. Next, call your dentist and explain the situation. It’s best to give as much information as possible so the dentist is better able to treat the area. Our office likes to know what tooth was chipped, how it was chipped, if the child is in pain, and when the event happened. If possible, bring the fragment of the tooth with you to the appointment.


Treatment varies depending on the severity of the fracture and your dentist will walk you through the treatment plan after analyzing the tooth. There are a few ways to restore a chipped tooth. Sometimes, the dentist is able to fill and polish the tooth with restorative material or even bond the area if the fracture is on one of the front teeth. If bonding, we use an adhesive and a resin material that’s the same color of the tooth to attach and make it look like nothing ever happened! Our office also provides the option to use Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) if you’re worried your child will be anxious or won’t cooperate for restoration. Keep in mind if that may be the case, there is no eating or drinking two hours prior to restoration to ensure the gas doesn’t make your child feel nauseous. If the fracture is more severe, your dentist will walk you through the next steps such as the possibility of needing a crown.

Patient Care

Our Pediatric Dentists are trained professionals and are well prepared to handle cases like this. If a tooth is chipped, we will want to know if there is any bleeding from within the tooth.

Chipped tooth

It is important to note the difference between an exposed nerve and a sensitive tooth. If the nerve is exposed, treatment should be expedited (within 24 hours). Sometimes we will at the very least seal the tooth to help with sensitivity and get the patient comfortable until the tooth can be restored back to normal. We will always make sure parents and patients are aware of treatment plans and keep everyone calm in an otherwise seemingly alarming situation. If your child has chipped their tooth, Rhode Island Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics will work with your child and ensure a healthy and beautiful smile.

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