Chipped or cracked teeth are not only a detriment to your beautiful smile, but they can also lead to significant dental health problems if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are some simple solutions to this problem, such as bonding or a dental crown. Unfortunately, any solution to damaged teeth will cost money, especially if you don't have dental insurance coverage.
But exactly how much does fixing a chipped tooth cost? The answer to that question can be a bit complicated and will depend on a few different factors.
To help you understand those factors, we've created this comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about tooth repair costs, as well as a ton of other useful information about the hows and whys of a chipped tooth and what you can do to fix it. We hope you find it helpful in your quest to restore your healthy smile without breaking the bank.
How Do Cracked or Chipped Teeth Occur?
Perhaps you’re wondering how you wound up with a cracked tooth, or perhaps you’re looking for ways to avoid having to fix a chipped tooth in the future. Either way, keep reading to learn about some of the most common causes of a chipped or broken tooth.
Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but even small amounts of friction and pressure over long periods can wear it down enough that your teeth can weaken significantly. When this happens, even something like regular chewing can result in a cracked tooth.
Certain Hard Foods
Hard foods are some of the most common culprits of a cracked or chipped tooth. Whether it’s a tough bread, some particularly hard type of nut, a corn kernel, a hard candy, or a chewy piece of jerky, just the right bite on the right type of snack can result in a crack or breakage. If you're looking to protect your teeth, then eat softer foods.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
If you suffer from bruxism, it’s likely that you’re slowly weakening your teeth structurally. This can appear at first as tiny cracks, but it can eventually be the reason your tooth breaks. Addressing the root cause of chronic teeth-grinding is necessary to avoid cracked tooth treatments.
Accidents resulting in a chipped or cracked tooth can be difficult to avoid; therefore, they’re among the most common causes of this issue. Wearing a mouthguard during contact sports is one way to prevent tooth damage from a blow to the mouth, but non-sports-related accidents are a little more difficult to prepare for.
Should an accident occur that results in tooth damage, your best bet is to immediately call a dental professional.
As you get older, the years of wear and tear on your teeth will inevitably result in them becoming weaker structurally. That doesn’t necessarily mean that damage will occur, but it certainly raises the odds.
The Different Types of Cracked Teeth
To accurately assess how much your chipped tooth repair costs will be, you need to determine what type of damage your tooth has sustained. While they may seem similar, there are important differences between each of the different types of cracked teeth, and the costs can vary widely.
To determine what type of tooth damage you’ve sustained, check out the following list.
Craze lines are tiny cracks that can form on the surface of your teeth. They can be small enough that they’re difficult to notice, and they’re almost never a cause for concern.
In fact, craze lines are not actually classified as a cracked tooth. They can, however, cause some unnecessary alarm in anyone who notices that they have them, which is why it’s important to know what they look like.
Cracked and Chipped Teeth
A vertical crack in the tooth deeper than the enamel that spreads through the entire tooth over time is not just a craze line.
A cracked tooth can sometimes be an easy fix with some tooth-colored bonding material; other times, it requires more complicated treatment options, such as a dental crown. If the damage reaches the dental pulp, a root canal treatment may be necessary.
A chipped tooth has actually lost a piece of the tooth itself. Sometimes the chip is small — and just a little smoothing out of the area where the damage occurred can fix a chipped tooth. Other times, your chipped tooth repair will require dental bonding or a dental crown.
The cusp is the elevated chewing surface of the tooth. A fractured cusp is not always painful. But it can affect the appearance of the tooth, increase sensitivity to hot and cold, and make eating on that chewing surface uncomfortable. Frequently, this type of broken tooth can be fixed with an onlay or a crown.
Vertical Root Fractures
Vertical root fractures are cracks in the tooth that run from the visible part of the tooth all the way down to the tooth root, which is located beneath the gum line. These tooth fractures are most common in teeth that are weakened; for example, they may be found in a tooth that has received root canal treatment.
Vertical root fractures can be treated in multiple ways, but the most common is extraction.
Types of Broken or Chipped Tooth Treatments
If you experience damage to your teeth in any way, a number of different treatments can help restore form and function to your smile. We’ve listed some of the most common ways to fix a chipped tooth below.
Dental bonding is one of the most common chipped tooth treatments. It involves your dentist repairing your cracked, chipped, or broken teeth with a composite resin material that’s designed to look just like your natural tooth.
This treatment is only effective on minor damage. However, if your tooth has sustained a significant injury, you’ll likely need more complex treatment.
Onlays, Inlays, and Crowns
Onlays and inlays effectively restore form and function to cracked teeth using composite resin, porcelain, ceramic, or metal. Onlays are used to restore a fractured cusp, which is the tooth’s bite surface, while inlays are used to restore the area between the cusps.
A dental crown can help to treat more extensive damage to a back or front tooth by replacing most of the visible tooth with a natural-looking cap made from porcelain, ceramic, or composite resin. This process takes more than one visit, which means you'll receive a temporary crown before your next appointment.
A permanent crown is also sometimes used after root canal therapy to provide extra strength and protection to the remaining tooth structure.
Veneers are a strictly cosmetic treatment designed to improve the appearance of front-facing teeth that have experienced minor chipping or other forms of cosmetic damage.
They are a thin shell made from porcelain material that is fitted over the damaged front tooth and matched to the shade of the existing teeth for as natural a look as possible.
Root Canal Therapy
A root canal is a type of treatment designed to save a tooth that has become infected. It involves drilling into the tooth, removing the infected blood vessels and nerve endings, disinfecting the inner tooth, and then refilling it with a special material.
Root canals can also be performed when the affected tooth has sustained damage that reaches down to the dental pulp.
Sometimes the damage is so significant that the best option is to remove the tooth entirely. Extraction may seem like a highly undesirable form of treatment, but there are multiple options for tooth replacement that can restore both form and function to your mouth with relatively little discomfort.
Dental implants are the most effective option for replacement after extraction. They consist of a titanium post that is fused to the jawbone, a metal abutment, and a prosthetic device that looks and feels just like a natural tooth. The dental implant is stronger and more durable than any other tooth replacement dental treatment.
Chipped Tooth Cost: The Risks of Ignoring Chipped or Broken Teeth
Perhaps you’re not all that worried about the aesthetics of your damaged tooth, and perhaps your desire to avoid the dentist's office is greater than your desire to relieve pain. However, it's important to call a dentist immediately when you experience a chipped or cracked tooth.
The damage to your tooth is likely to result in further damage, as the structure of the tooth has been compromised. The longer you go without treatment, the more likely you are to experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold, difficulty chewing, tooth decay, and damage to the soft tissue in your mouth from the sharp edge of the damaged tooth.
But further damage and sharp edges aren't all you need to worry about. Even a relatively minor tooth injury will leave your tooth susceptible to some oral health complications. These can result in much more serious harm to your overall health.
A deep enough injury can allow bacteria inside your teeth, where an infection can occur. Infections can only be treated in a handful of ways. The two most common are root canals and tooth extraction, both of which are more uncomfortable than something like a crown or onlay.
An unchecked tooth infection will not get better, and it can very possibly get worse. The infection can spread to your gums, causing dental abscesses.
Dental abscesses are pus-filled sacs around the gums that can spread bacteria throughout the body through the blood vessels and cause a number of serious health issues, such as blood infection, brain abscess, inflammation of the heart, pneumonia, and more.
You're far better off in the dentist's office than in the emergency room. Schedule that dental appointment today.
How Much Does Chipped Tooth Repair Cost?
You’re now an expert on cracked, chipped, and broken teeth. That is, except for in one particular field: how much chipped tooth repair costs.
There are different types of tooth damage, but there are also various ways to repair that damage. Your chipped tooth repair cost could have a wide range. To help you get a rough idea of how much cracked, broken, or chipped tooth repair costs, simply refer to this list.
Bonding can be a quick and inexpensive job when repairing minor chipping, but the greater the damage, the higher the costs. You can expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $600 per tooth.
Onlays and Inlays
Onlays and inlays will also depend on the severity of the damage being repaired, but you can expect to pay somewhere between $250 and $1500 for an inlay and between $350 and $1500 for an onlay.
Crowns can be made of various materials, with some being significantly more expensive than others. You can anticipate a cost of about $900 to $1500 per crown.
A dental veneer can be made of different materials that have a range of costs. A single porcelain veneer for your front tooth is generally between $1000 and $2500.
Root canal costs depend on the tooth being treated, but you can anticipate a cost between $800 and $1700.
Pulling a tooth is the least expensive of all treatment options, but it also leaves you with a gap in your mouth that must be addressed. Costs are typically somewhere between $100 and $200 per tooth.
Replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant will cost between $1500 and $2000.
Dental Insurance for Broken Tooth Repair Costs
Fortunately, there’s a good chance that many of the above tooth repair treatments will be covered by your dental insurance, provided there’s a medical need for them.
However, veneers are considered strictly cosmetic or elective procedures, so they might not be covered. Dental implants are only covered under certain plans.
While you may not have the full tooth repair costs covered by your insurance, you will likely have somewhere between 50% and 80% paid for, depending on the type of treatment.
How much does it cost to fix your teeth under your particular insurance? Reach out to your insurance provider to learn more.
Beautify Your Smile with SNOW
Protecting your teeth from damage is only one part of the beautiful smile equation. If you’re looking for a bright white smile, check out SNOW’s line of highly effective teeth whitening products today.