During soccer practice last week, my 12-year-old son took a direct hit in the mouth from another player’s head. My son always wears a mouthguard, but his left front tooth chipped anyway. He is still young, and I know his jaw and bones are still growing. His pediatric dentist says that the tooth will not grow back, but I want to verify whether that is true. Will any part of the tooth grow back? Shawna T. from KY
Thank you for your question. We understand your concern for your son’s tooth. But his pediatric dentist is correct.
Will a Chipped Tooth Grow Back?
A chipped tooth will not grow back because tooth enamel does not regenerate. However, if you have the piece that chipped off, a skilled cosmetic dentist can bond it back onto the tooth.
A cosmetic dentist will conceal a chipped tooth with these steps:
- Clean the tooth
- Roughen the surface
- Etch the tooth and apply a bonding agent
- Select and blend dental composites that match the tooth shade
- Apply and shape layers of composite
- Harden the composite
- Reshape and polish the composite to match surrounding natural teeth.
A cosmetic dentist will restore your son’s tooth in one visit while he relaxes in the dental chair. According to the American Dental Association, tooth enamel will fuse with the bonding, which strengthens the tooth and helps it look natural. The bond will be seamless, and you will not be able to tell where the tooth chipped.
Quality dental bonding can last up to five years if you take good care of it. A cosmetic dentist will need to refresh the bonding periodically.
When a large portion of a tooth or the entire tooth breaks, a dentist will need to complete root canal treatment and protect the tooth with a dental crown.
Will Dental Insurance Pay to Repair a Chipped Tooth?
Dental insurance will provide some benefits toward repairing a chipped tooth. But insurance will not cover the entire cost. Sometimes, medical insurance plans offer some coverage toward accidental injury to teeth. Ask dental and medical insurance companies about plan benefits.
Schedule a consultation with an accredited cosmetic dentist who treats adults and children to examine your son’s tooth and explain treatment options.
Dr. David Finley, an accredited cosmetic dentistry Fellow in Monroe, Louisiana, sponsors this post.