Accidents can happen suddenly, and a tooth can be chipped or broken off. Can it be saved? In some cases it can, under certain conditions.
In most cases, it's the upper incisors that are chipped, broken or knocked out. A dentist can try to reattach a chipped-off fragment of a tooth if it still exists, but it has to be intact. If nothing is done, broken-off fragments of teeth dry out within a few minutes. Their cells die off. After only a short time, the tooth becomes unsalvageable and can't be repaired. Broken-off tooth fragments can be preserved for about 30 minutes in saliva, plastic foil or long-life milk. Then go as soon as possible to your dentist or a dental clinic. If you've lost the fragment that has broken off and the damage to what's left of the tooth in your mouth is not too great, the dentist can replace the fragment with a filling. More severely damaged incisors may be repaired with dental veneers, wafer-thin shells of porcelain bonded to the teeth. If the tooth has been lost or destroyed completely, it will have to be replaced by a denture, a bridge or an implant.