Have a Cracked, Broken, or Chipped Tooth? Here’s What to Do.


A broken tooth is a scary experience to say the least, and many sufferers are left anxiously wondering whether or not their tooth can be saved. Learning more about the treatment options available, as well as home care techniques, will help you get the best possible outcome for your broken tooth.

Treating a Cracked Tooth

You may have cracked a tooth if you have pain when you chew, especially when you release pressure after biting, or if hot or cold temperatures cause pain.

What You Should Do 

A cracked tooth should be treated with care in order to minimize the risk of further damage. A combination of warm water rinses, Ibuprofen and cold compresses can help to relieve any discomfort or pain you may be experiencing. Since a cracked tooth can get worse over time, it’s crucial to see your dentist as soon as possible.

What Your Dentist Will Do

After diagnosing a cracked tooth, sometimes referred to as a fractured tooth, your dentist will determine whether or not the tooth can be repaired. In most cases, he or she may suggest a root canal procedure to prevent an infection, possibly followed by a dental crown to reinforce the tooth and prevent any further damage. To avoid an unnecessary extraction, the tooth should be repaired as soon as possible, since a crack can only be fixed before it reaches below the gum line.   

Repairing a Chipped Tooth

What You Should Do

If you have the broken piece of tooth, save it! Your dentist may be able to reattach it. Studies show that reattached pieces have the highest success rate when stored in milk or saliva. As with other dental injuries, visit your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further injury or damage to the nerve.

In the meantime, taking an over the counter pain reliever like acetaminophen may help to reduce the discomfort and sensitivity caused by a chipped tooth. If the tooth feels sharp or jagged, consider placing a small piece of wax or sugarless gum over the area to minimize the risk of cutting your tongue or cheek. Salt-water rinses will also help to ward off an infection while you’re waiting to see your dentist. 

What Your Dentist Will Do 

For cosmetic purposes, a technique known as bonding can be used to repair a chipped tooth. More extensive chips can be corrected with a composite filling that matches the tooth’s original color, or covered with a crown to protect and reinforce the damaged tooth. 

Fixing a Broken Tooth 

What You Should Do

As with a chipped tooth, save the broken piece of your tooth in milk or saliva. Clean your mouth thoroughly by rinsing with warm water, especially after eating. If bleeding occurs, apply light pressure with a piece of gauze in ten-minute increments until it has stopped. An ice pack and over the counter pain relievers will also help to reduce any swelling and discomfort.

What Your Dentist Will Do

Your dentist will begin by determining the cause of the broken tooth, such as decay or trauma. If the broken tooth’s nerve is exposed, root canal treatment may be necessary in order to stop the pain and prevent infection. In most cases, a crown will be needed to fully restore the tooth; alternately, your dentist may be able to reattach the broken piece.

Here at My Family Dentistry, we specialize in treating an array of dental injuries including cracked, chipped and broken teeth. Using state-of-the art techniques, Dr. Mullins will carefully treat and repair your tooth in order to restore both its function and appearance. 

Need help? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Wes today!

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