Tag Archives: chipped tooth

Will an Emergency Dentist Charge the Cause of the Accident?

I was at a stag party. We were at a pub when one of the group got a little too drunk. He started trouble which ended up causing a fight. The result of which was my front tooth lost a piece and is now loose. I’m assuming I need an emergency dentist, but I’m broke. Will the dentist charge the fee to the moron who started all this?

Casey C.

Dear Casey,

A chipped tooth in need of an emergency dentist
Tooth trauma requires an emergency dental visit

I’m very sorry this happened to you. It’s hard when you’re trying to be responsible and the people around you cause problems. You’re right that this needs an emergency dentist. Your loose tooth needs to be splinted to stabilize it. There are several ways a dentist can do this. What method he or she uses will depend on what other issues your tooth is facing.

He’ll also want to examine it for trauma to the nerves or pulp. Internal damage could mean a root canal treatment and possible crown.

Once the tooth is secure, if there’s no other damage you can fix the broken piece with dental bonding. You don’t have to have the piece that broke. A skilled cosmetic dentist can sculpt a composite resin onto your tooth which will look just like your natural tooth structure and blend in perfectly.

Who Pays for Emergency Dental Care?

Unless the person responsible comes and agrees to pay for treatment, the dentist can’t bill him. He can only bill the person receiving the services or their legal guardian without prior approval. However, you can ask for a detailed bill of the damage and send the bill to the offender. If he has integrity he may just pay. If he doesn’t, you may have to take him to small claims court.

Just be aware, many dentists are willing to work with patients financially, especially those in emergency situations. Just talk to the dentist ahead of time. If he’s not willing to work with you, try Care Credit, though most dentists offer that in-office. It’s a medical credit card that has low and even no-interest payments.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Crowns on front teeth

My 15 year old son had a bicycle accident, which chipped his front two teeth. I was thinking about getting veneers put on his teeth, but when I took him to the dentist today, he said it was better to place crowns on the teeth. I thought it best to get a sort of second opinion, so I’m writing your blog.

Pauline- Texas

Pauline,

My opinion is to not put crowns on his front teeth. Crowns will require his teeth be filed down to stubs. On a 15-year old, the teeth are very young with a large pulp inside. Since crowns require the removal of a considerable amount of tooth structure, there is a very real risk that the dentist would run into the pulp, which would kill the pulp and mean that the tooth would also need a root canal.

For something like chipped front teeth there are two more conservative options: The most conservative is dental bonding. Though if you have this done, you need to be sure that your dentist is artistic enough to do this work, because it involves shaping and tinting the restoration freehand. The advantage is that it wouldn’t require the removal of any additional tooth structure.

Another option would be porcelain veneers placed on his two front teeth. The dentist would shave off about half a millimeter of the enamel on the front of the each of these two front teeth and place porcelain veneers.

I suspect that your dentist recommended crowns because he is not comfortable with doing either direct dental bonding or porcelain veneers. They require specialized cosmetic dentistry techniques that most dentists aren’t familiar with. But I would definitely discourage doing the crowns on a fifteen-year old.

This blog is brought to you by Boston Cosmetic dentist Dr. Randall Burba.