Chipped, fractured, and broken teeth are very common oral health conditions. The cost of treatment varies depending on the severity of the break, whether it's a front tooth or molar, what type of dental procedure is used to repair it, and other factors like insurance coverage, location, and the dental office’s pricing.
Here’s what you should expect to pay to repair a chipped tooth (without insurance):
|Procedure||Cost Per Tooth|
|Filling||$90 to $500|
|Dental Bonding||$200 to $1,000|
|Dental Crown||$300 to $3,000|
|Root Canal Therapy||$500 to $1,800|
|Dental Onlay||$650 to $1,200|
|Dental Veneer||$600 to $2,500|
|Dental Implant||$3,000 to $5,000|
Dental insurance may cover some or all of the procedure costs. The most significant factor is whether your insurance plan considers the procedure necessary or cosmetic. Veneers and implants are often deemed cosmetic or elective procedures, while most other chipped tooth treatments are considered medically necessary.
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Even though your tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in your body, tooth fractures are common injuries. The most common causes of cracked teeth are:
There are five types of tooth fractures, including:
Craze lines are tiny vertical cracks that appear on your tooth enamel. They are very common and develop with age. They do not cause pain, are harmless, and do not require treatment.
Fractured cusps often develop in teeth that have deep cavities or large dental fillings. They are small chips that only affect the pointed chewing surface of the tooth. They do not reach the pulp, which is the part of the tooth that holds the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues.
These may not require treatment and may cause no symptoms or only slight discomfort. But if they change the way you chew or alter the appearance of your smile, a dentist will likely recommend filing the tooth, a large filling, onlay, or crown.
A cracked tooth will typically crack vertically. If the crack does not extend beneath the gum line, the damaged tooth can usually be saved before the crack causes further damage via dental bonding or a crown. These types of fractures usually cause tooth sensitivity and acute pain when biting.
A split tooth is a much more serious type of tooth break. This typically occurs when a cracked tooth goes untreated and develops into a complete fracture. It can also develop from a severe injury.
A split cracks the tooth from the sharp top edge all the way to the roots. In rare cases, a root canal and a crown can save the remaining tooth structure. However, in most cases, your dentist will need to perform a tooth extraction and will recommend an implant to replace the tooth.
Vertical root fractures begin at the root and travel upwards, completely splitting the tooth. Teeth with vertical root fractures will need to be extracted.
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Depending on the type and severity of your chipped tooth, your dentist will recommend one of the following seven types of treatment options:
Fillings can treat very minor chipping by closing the hole and restoring tooth functionality. They are made from white composite resin or silver amalgam. These are typically used for small chips in molars or less visible areas.
If the chip is on a front tooth or highly visible area, dental bonding may be recommended. The tooth-colored bonding material (composite resin) is applied to the tooth and hardened using an LED light.
If the fracture is large or affects multiple cusps on the tooth, a dental crown will be applied. A crown, or cap, is a custom-fitted cover that fits over what remains of the natural tooth to protect and restore normal tooth structure and function. They can be made from porcelain-fused-to-metal, metal or gold alloys, stainless steel, ceramic, or all-resin.
If the crack exposes the dentin or pulp of your tooth, it could become permanently damaged. In this case, a root canal will be needed to remove the dead pulp and replace it with a filling called gutta-percha. Crowns are often placed on top of the tooth after a root canal procedure.
An onlay may be used when a cavity or chip is too big for a normal filling to fix. They are custom made in a lab to fit your tooth and formed from gold, ceramic, or composite resin.
If the chip is small and only causes cosmetic problems, a dental veneer may be recommended. Veneers are commonly used in cosmetic dentistry to fix the appearance of teeth. They are a custom layer of porcelain or zirconia that can change the shape, size, and color of a tooth.
If your tooth is extracted, you will need to see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or periodontist to get a dental implant. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that gets inserted and bonded to your jawbone. They are the base for crowns, bridges, and dentures.
If you chip a tooth, the first thing you should do is call your dentist and schedule an office visit. Once you have an appointment, there are a few things you can do to help relieve pain and make sure that you don’t make the problem worse:
A chipped tooth is considered a dental emergency if the tooth is:
Neglecting a chipped tooth can lead to more damage and dental care costs. If the chip exposes the dentin or pulp of the tooth, an infection may occur. This could necessitate a root canal or tooth extraction. If the fracture gets worse and extends into the roots, you will need to remove the tooth and get an implant.
These procedures are much more complicated and costly than fillings, bonding, and onlays. It’s best to seek treatment right away to minimize damage and allow for more treatment options.
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“Cracked Teeth.” American Association of Endodontists, 2 Sept. 2020, www.aae.org/patients/dental-symptoms/cracked-teeth/
Douglass, Alan B, and Joanna M Douglass. “Common Dental Emergencies.” American Family Physician, 1 Feb. 2003, www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0201/p511.html
Lubisich, Erinne B, et al. “Cracked Teeth: a Review of the Literature.” Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry : Official Publication of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry ... [Et Al.], U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3870147/
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“When Teeth Get Damaged.” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, Mar. 2014, www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/when-teeth-get-damaged