Premolars, or bicuspids, are the helper teeth located between the sharp, grabbing canines and the flattened, grinding molars. The premolars have a flatter top like molars, but a narrower width like canines. A premolar with a significant chip can lose much of its upper surface area, limiting the tooth's ability to assist in both grabbing and grinding any food you eat. A chipped premolar can also affect your self-confidence since the tooth is towards the front of your mouth, making it visible when you smile.
A cosmetic dentistry office can help correct your chipped premolar to improve the look of your smile and your chewing ability. What are some of the treatment options?
The treatment route will largely depend on whether or not the chip interferes with the tooth's root canal system. If the chip didn't cause any damage to the canal and the chip is on the front of your tooth, the cosmetic dentist might recommend a veneer.
A veneer is a porcelain artificial tooth cap that is made to bond onto the front of your natural tooth. Your dentist will craft the veneer using a mold of your tooth and will lightly file down the tooth to both remove any sharp edges of the chipped segment and to help with bonding.
Note that a veneer essentially just covers up the chipping damage. Premolars are involved in some grinding, which is the part of chewing that involves a lot of bite force, so it's generally not a good idea to use a veneer if there is significant loss of tooth mass, since the artificial tooth is more likely to damage than a natural tooth.
Root Canal and Dental Crown
Does your premolar have significant tooth loss due to the chip and/or was the root canal damaged? Your dentist might recommend a dental crown, which can be preceded by a root canal procedure if the canal was damaged.
Root canal treatment involves the dentist scraping the sensitive pulp material—a collection of blood cells, nerves and tissues—from within the canal. The canal is then disinfected and filled with a soft bio-cement that hardens into place, which helps fortify the remaining canal.
The root canal procedure does nothing to fix the cosmetic appearance of the surrounding tooth. That's where the dental crown comes into play.
A dental crown, like a veneer, is an artificial tooth covering that is made out of porcelain. Unlike a veneer, the crown fits down over the entire exterior of the natural tooth to both cover up the chipping damage and to offer better protection against potential bite force damage. For more information on how a dentist can help to fix your chipped premolar, contact a dental office like Meadow Ridge Dental Centre cosmetic dentistry.