Hard candy, a hard fall, being hit in the face or head, a cavity that weakens the tooth…we’ve even heard of a tooth breaking off because of a pretzel. A broken or chipped tooth happens, leaving you wondering what to do about what’s left of your tooth and when to call the dentist. We’ve compiled a list of the most common questions about a broken or cracked tooth. If you have any further questions, email or call us to get a prompt answer—and prompt treatment.
Do I need to call a dentist right away?
Your care for a cracked or broken tooth depends on the extent of the damage. First, evaluate your level of pain. If you are in extreme pain, you may have a damaged nerve. Schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist.
If there is little pain or you only experience pain during hot or cold temperatures, apply gauze to stop any bleeding. Rinse your mouth with warm water, and apply a cold compress to alleviate any pain and swelling. You can take an over-the-counter pain medication if there is pain, but make sure to follow the label directions. Avoid biting down on the tooth until your dentist can repair the damage. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible and keep that area of your mouth clean.
What do I do if I lost a filling when my tooth broke?
Take the filling out. Do not try to reattach the filling on your own. Keep the area clean in your mouth so food doesn’t get stuck. If you have any sensitivity or pain, ask your dentist office what they recommend for pain relief. Contact your dentist for an emergency dentist appointment.
What if your broken tooth is a lost crown?
First, wash and dry the crown. Contact your dentist and ask if you should try to temporarily cement the crown back in your mouth. If they say yes, use a bit of dental cement or adhesive (such as Fixodent) you can purchase at a local pharmacy to try to reattach the crown or cap. Schedule an emergency dentist appointment as soon as possible.
How does the dentist treat a broken or chipped tooth?
The treatment for a broken or chipped tooth depends on the amount of damage, and the site condition. A damaged tooth may require a filling (or re-filling if your filling fell out), root canal, or possible removal. Your dentist can recommend the best treatment, repair any damage, and answer all your questions about your broken tooth.