Options for Chipped Front Tooth Restoration

The bottom half of my front tooth was chipped. I want to know what my options are, and how long on average will this restoration last? Since I am only 20, how many times will I need to replace it during my life? If I place a porcelain veneer on the tooth, and it eventually needs a root canal, will the veneer need to be replaced with a crown?

Doctor Answers 14

How to Repair a Chipped Front Tooth

This is a GREAT question. There are many factors that should be considered when choosing how to repair your fractured tooth. You said "half" of your front tooth is fractured. That's a lot of tooth structure to repair with a conservative restoration like bonding. Bonding is the least expensive option but also does not last as long and wth half the tooth needing replacement will probably not last more than a few years. Another option is a porcelain veneer which is more expensive but also more "permanent." It should last substantially longer but if the tooth ends up needing a root canal the tooth will likely change color which would also affect the color of the veneer. A front tooth with a root canal is also not adequately protected with a veneer and would likely need a crown.

If you were my family member at age 20 I would probably do a conservative bonding and allow the tooth and gums around the tooth to completely mature. I would not want to further traumatize the tooth right away by doing more invasive procedures like a veneer or crown.  This will help prevent the need for a root canal later.

Then in a few years I would do a more permanent retoration which would more than likely be an all-ceramic crown rather than a veneer because with half the tooth missing I would be conserned about long-term retention of the restoration.

Your dentist's biggest challenge will be matching a single front tooth color, shape and consistency with the adjacent teeth...NOT an easy thing to do.

Good luck, hope this helps. 

Tustin Cosmetic Dentist

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Chipped Tooth Restoration Options

A chipped tooth can often times be repaired with simple bonding. If the tooth does not have any decay or pulpal involvement (needing root canal treatment), the tooth can be cosmetically and conservatively treated with composite resin (white filling) bonding. This is the treatment I often recommend to my younger patients who need less invasive treatment. This type of restoration is less aggressive and does not require much removing of tooth structure. However, if your tooth is further compromised, you may be better served with a Porcelain Veneer. A porcelain veneer is also a less aggressive restoration which involves reducing about 0.5 mm of tooth structure from the front surface of the tooth. Your best bet is to do the most conservative treatment option given to you by your dentist. Since you are a young patient, it is important that you preserve as much tooth structure as possible. Good luck!

Parnaz Aurasteh, DDS
Beverly Hills Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Best way to restore a chipped front tooth

Your options are composite bonding, porcelain veneer or porcelain crown.  Since you said that half of the tooth has broken off, then I would lean heavily in favor of the porcelain veneer or porcelain crown.

With regard to root canal, because so much of the tooth has been fractured off, a root canal may be necessary, either soon or years down the road.  For a better prognosis I suggest you consult with an endodontist who can test your tooth for vitality (being alive or dead) and give you his opinion on whether a root canal should be done first, or to wait to make the decision if and when future symptoms appear down the road.

No one can predict how long a porcelain veneer or porcelain crown will last you.  It depends on the type of crown or veneer used, whether or not you have any more trauma to the tooth (a fall or blow to the tooth), your bite (i.e. do you grind or clench your teeth together).  And believe it or not, it also depends on how good your dentist is! 

Crowns and porcelain veneers can last a lifetime, and that is the goal of most cosmetic dentists.  However there is too much out of the dentists control to promise that it would last that long.  I've done crowns and porcelain veneers that I placed 25 years ago and are still in doing well today.  (Porcelain veneers were introduced to dentistry around 1985).  I've also had patients come in to me to replace crowns or veneers that were done only five years earlier.  Unfortunately, no dentist can give you an accurate estimate as to how long the porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns will last, but properly done, they will usually last a long, LONG time!

Norman Huefner, DDS
Laguna Niguel Cosmetic Dentist

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Options for Chipped Front Tooth

If the chip is small you can fix it with composite/bonding. A highly talented dentist can make this look very natural. The drawback is that this restoration may chip or stain over time. It will last on average 7-10 years.

A porcelain veneer is a good option if the chip is larger. This will last 10-15 years on average. If the tooth needs a root canal, the veneer does not need to be removed. The root canal can be performed through the backside of the tooth. 

A crown would only need to be placed if there was severe discoloration of the tooth or if the tooth was weakened due to decay or more trauma.

Doing a single veneer or single crown on a front tooth and matching it to the adjacent teeth is the toughest case for a cosmetic dentist.

Porcelain Veneer For Chipped Front Tooth

Based on the amount of tooth that is missing I would recommend that you have a porcelain veneer placed.  This will be the most durable and the most aesthetic. Composite bonding may be a viable option, but will not last as long as a veneer.  If the tooth should ever need a root canal they should be able to complete it without ever touching your porcelain veneer.  Hope this helps. 

Scott Young, DDS
Houston Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Chipped teeth fixed with composite or porcelain veneer

A composite restoration will work in a pinch but must be considered a temporary solution. A porcelain veneer will last much longer an can be nearly as conservative as a composite, as many "no prep" solutions are out there. If a root canal is needed, it may be possible to not destroy the veneer. At age 20, you should be prepared to replace the restoration a few times in your life.

Lance Timmerman, DMD
Seattle Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

You have options

Since you are 20 yrs of age, I would consider both composite bonding and a porcelain veneer.  Of course, any qualified cosmetic dentist would need to see your tooth, take appropriate xrays, and consult with you on you level of esthetic needs. In most cases im my office, like yours, I would use composite bonding 1st, even if its just temporary. 

Bottom line is you will have some options on treatment and I would recommend you finding a trusted cosmetic dentist.  The restorations will need to be replaced after 7-10 years (bonding) and maybe 10-15 years with porcelain.  Some porcelain restorations can last much longer - and in some cases can last 30+ years.  Each case is special and needs a personal consultation.  Best of luck.

Greg Lutke, DDS
Plano Cosmetic Dentist

Veneer is best for 50% tooth loss..

A porcelain veneer is best for this type of fracture. Its strong and will look great if done properly. If you were to do bonding on the tooth it will look great for a few years but will discolor and chip. Usually they are replaced whenever they loose their cosmetic appeal...sometimes that can be 10 years sometimes 3. All depends..A veneer never changes color because its made of glass the best thing is to whiten or bleach your teeth first,,wait 4 days then get the veneer placed. If your teeth darken over time all you  have to do is wear the bleaching tray a nite or two and they all match again. If by chance you need a root canal,,then it would be done without harming the veneer. Good luck

Michael J. Thomas, DDS
Los Angeles Cosmetic Dentist
1.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Broken Tooth

Chipped or Fractured teeth can be uncomfortable especially in the front. You mentioned half of the tooth was fractured, the first step is to determined how much tooth structure was lost & if  the nerve is exposed. We want to make sure that Root Canal is not necessary before going forward with any treatment to correct the fractured tooth. If some tooth structure was lost than the conservative approach would be bonding just keep in mind that over time the bonding material will discolor. If your looking for a more permanent approach a crown would be best to protect the tooth.  

Lawrence Gilbert, DDS
Woodbury Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

No prep porcelain veneer great option for chipped front tooth

No prep (Lumineers, DURAthins, Emprethins) or minimal preparation porcelain veneers are a fantastic option for patients with chipped or broken front teeth.  You've already lost a part of your tooth, right?  No need to prep the rest down as well anymore! Find a dentist with training in this kind of restoration and often the preparation is as minimal as smoothing any rough or sharp spots with the bulk of your tooth remaining intact. Much more conservative!

Gerilyn Alfe, DMD
Chicago Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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