When comedian Jim Carrey wanted to let his fans know that a sequel to his hit movie Dumb & Dumber was on the way, he didn’t have to send out a press release—he just tweeted a close-up of his mouth. Why? Because the photo showed that one of his front teeth was chipped, which was the signature look of his Dumb & Dumber character, Lloyd Christmas. Carrey knew his goofy grin would say it all.
You might never know it, but in real life, Carrey truly does have a chipped front tooth, as he explained to Ellen DeGeneres last year while visiting her talk show to promote the film:
“I have a bonding on it most of the time, but now I don’t,” he said. “It’s kind of fun — wherever I go, people just kind of laugh at my face and they ask me to open beers for them and stuff, it’s really kind of a blast.”
What is tooth bonding? It’s a procedure where tooth-colored composite resin material is painted on a chipped or cracked part of your tooth, and then hardened with a curing light. This process is repeated until the tooth has been restored to the correct shape and color. Bonding can be used to repair chips, minor cracks or staining – and it’s a great thing to do if you’d rather people not ask you to open beers for them with your teeth!
As cosmetic dental treatments go, tooth bonding is a simple and relatively inexpensive procedure, and it can be accomplished in just one office visit. However, some chips are too large to repair with bonding. In that case, your dentist might recommend a veneer or crown.
A veneer is a very thin tooth-colored shell that is placed over the entire front surface of your tooth. In order to make a veneer fit, your dentist will likely need to remove a tiny amount of surface enamel, which is a permanent change to your tooth (bonding doesn’t require this type of permanent alteration). Any tooth that is altered this way will always need to be protected by a veneer or other covering. However, a veneer will never stain, whereas bonding material can absorb surface stains—just as natural teeth do. Veneers are usually made by a dental laboratory, so the procedure will take a couple of office visits.
A crown is a full covering or “cap” that encases the whole tooth above the gum line. To cap a tooth, a significant amount of tooth structure must be removed; therefore, the procedure is not reversible. Crowns are usually custom-fabricated for you by a dental laboratory, and will require more than one dental visit. But crowns are stronger than both bonding and veneers, and (like veneers) they will never stain.
If you’d like to learn more about any of these options for repairing chipped teeth, talk to your dentist! Call us at 1-800-238-5163 to find out about how dental savings plans can help make quality dental care affordable.