Cracked tooth injuries always come with a story, such as running into a teammate or enjoying a delicious (and hard) snack. Even extreme temperatures, teeth grinding, and age can cause a cracked tooth. No matter what the cause, the pain from a chipped tooth is real—and so are the questions that come with this common mouth injury. What should I do after my tooth has been injured? What should I do about the filling that fell out? Do I need to contact a dentist? What should I do with a lost crown? We’ve assisted numerous patients with a cracked or broken tooth, and have put together a step-by-step guide on what to do after a tooth is cracked.
This is an important step. Stay calm. In most cases, a cracked tooth or lost crown or filling can be repaired and the pain alleviated. With proper treatment, the damage is often not visible to others.
Determine the extent of the damage.
Immediately after the injury, evaluate the level of pain and amount of bleeding.
- If there is a significant amount of pain, there may be damage to the nerve. Contact a dentist for an emergency appointment right away.
- If there is bleeding, apply gauze to stop the bleeding. Do not apply topical pain reliever products to the area.
- If the pain is intermittent, such as only during biting down or when exposed to hot or cold temperatures, bite down on a moist piece of gauze. Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth with the pain. Contact a dentist for an appointment.
Save the filling or crown.
If the cracked tooth involves a lost filling or crown, save the filling or crown.
- If a filling is lost, try to keep the area around the filling clean and free of food. Don’t try to put the filling back in. Contact a dentist for an emergency appointment.
- If a crown has come out, clean the crown and dry it. Contact a dentist immediately, and ask if the crown should be temporarily cemented back into the mouth. If yes, purchase dental cement at a local pharmacy and follow the directions to reattach the crown. Schedule an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible.
Visit the dentist for treatment.
The specific treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the location, size of the crack, amount of damage, and the appropriate repair. The dentist may use terms like craze lines, fractured cusp, and vertical root fracture. Possible treatments include: bonding, root canal, filling, or tooth extraction. If the cracks are small, the dentist may decide no treatment is needed. Most treatments and repairs are long-term. Contact a dentist to find out what is the right treatment and get answers to any questions about the cracked tooth.