Broken teeth can cause toothache in several ways. If dentine, the sensitive part of the tooth is exposed it will cause a short, sharp pain to a stimulus such as; cold air, sweet foods and cold or hot drinks. If this is what you are experiencing we strongly recommend you find an emergency dentist to protect the tooth from breaking further and avoid any subsequent pain.
Advice: If you have a sensitive broken tooth, then apply some toothpaste on the dried tooth so that fluoride within the toothpaste will help reduce the sensitivity until you are able to see the dentist.
Broken teeth can be damaged below the gum line if direct trauma from an accident has occurred. If this is the case, the tooth will be very tender and you will need to see the dentist immediately to assess the extent of the damage.
Advice: Stick to a soft diet to reduce pressure on the tooth.
Broken Tooth FAQs
What happens if I break a tooth?
If you have broken your tooth and you can find the piece that has broken, store it in milk or a cup of your own saliva as it could potentially be bonded back to your tooth by the dentist. It is very important that you visit the dentist as soon as possible and take the piece with you if you have found it.
Do not delay in visiting the dentist even if the tooth is not causing you any pain.
Is it common to break teeth?
It is quite common to chip a small part of your tooth but large fractures are uncommon. Hard foods or objects such as bottle tops or can ring tops can potentially cause fractures in your teeth. Often young children can fracture their front teeth when they are learning to walk or when slightly older and they begin to ride bicycles or play sports.
It is very important that if your child is involved in any sports activity, that they wear a mouth guard to protect their front teeth. This can be made by your dentist.
How do I fix a broken tooth?
There are many options to fix a broken tooth. It is important that this is done by a dental professional and the options to fix the broken tooth will depend upon the size of the break.
If you have found the piece that has broken, this could potentially be bonded back to your tooth if the dentist thinks it will produce a suitable aesthetic result.
If the break is small potentially some contouring of the tooth can be done to smooth any rough edges and the tooth left without a filling.
However more conventionally the tooth can normally be restored using a tooth-coloured filling that is bonded to the tooth by a well trained dentist. This should blend in with your natural tooth so that it is not noticeable.
Possibly a veneer, which can be compared to a false fingernail for the tooth, can be placed over the remaining tooth structure if the dentist thinks this may be more suitable to restore the tooth.
If the break is large and involves the pulp containing the nerves of the tooth a root canal filling may have to be completed after which a full crown (crash helmet for the tooth) may need to be put over the remaining tooth structure to restore the shape and protect the root filling.
If too much of the tooth has broken that there are no options to fix it, the tooth may need to be extracted and replaced with either a dental implant, bridge or denture. These options can be discussed in detail with the dentist.
The break may have been due to dental decay and therefore the decay (caries) would need to be cleaned out of the tooth and then a filling placed. These fillings can vary so it is best to discuss which options are suitable with the dentist.
I have broken a tooth but am not getting any pain, should I still see the dentist?
You should definitely still visit the dentist. The impact that caused the tooth to break may have irreversibly damaged the nerve. This can lead to a discoloured black tooth over time. This can develop very slowly without giving you symptoms, so you may not be aware of it occurring.
Is it difficult to repair a broken tooth?
In most cases is not difficult to repair the broken tooth. Often this can be done in one visit to the dentist. Depending on the size of the break, root canal therapy may even be required which would take longer and several more appointments may be required.
Do I need tooth extraction for a broken tooth?
The tooth will only need to be taken out if there is not enough remaining tooth structure left to secure a successful restoration. Thanks to dental advances there are now many options to try and save teeth. However if you do need an extraction, do not worry as there are great options available to replace the missing tooth.
Can the broken part of my tooth be kept and used to repair my tooth?
Possibly. It is not common that the tooth piece fits back perfectly along the break line and therefore can produce a poor aesthetic result. However if you can find it then you should store it in milk or a cup of saliva until you reach your dentist, who will be able to assess it. Do not store the piece in water or in dry tissue as this will damage it.