How do I Know That I Have a Broken Tooth?

While teeth are extraordinarily strong, they can sometimes break. When a tooth breaks, you may not feel pain but you may feel the sharp edge of it with your tongue. If you think that you have broken your tooth and it hurts, then you probably have. You may also have a broken tooth when it doesn't hurt to bite down, but you feel pain when you release the bite.

Does it Hurt When I Have a Broken Tooth?

Sometimes you don't have any pain, depending on where the break is and how badly the tooth is broken. Pain from a broken tooth may be constant or may come and go. Pain may come when chewing because chewing puts pressure on the tooth; from nerve endings in the dentin, the hard, dense, bony tissue that forms the bulk of a tooth beneath the enamel, being exposed to air, or to hot or cold foods or drinks.

Do I Need to See a Dentist if I Have a Broken Tooth?

Yes, as your tooth could be damaged further or you may have damaged a nerve or a blood vessel and it could become infected, possibly causing you to end up losing the tooth.

How Should I Care For My Broken Tooth Until I Reach the Dentist's Office?

Try to get to a dentist's office immediately, but if you can't, here are some things that you should consider doing until you get there...
• Rinse off and save any loose pieces.
• Rinse your mouth with a mild salt-water solution.
• If the break has a sharp edge, cover it with a piece of sugarless chewing gum to keep it from cutting the inside of your lip or cheek or your tongue.
• If you're bleeding, apply pressure with a piece of gauze for approximately 10 minutes. If that doesn't stop it, see your dentist or go to the emergency room.
• If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek.
• If the tooth is painful take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Warning: Never put painkillers against your gums because they may burn the gum tissue.
• If you have to eat, make sure that you eat soft foods and avoid biting down on the broken tooth.

If I Have a Broken Tooth, What Will My Dentist Do?

Your dentist will probably start with an X-ray in order to properly diagnose your tooth's condition and then you may need one of the following treatments...

Root Canal

If the tooth pulp, the soft tissue inside of the tooth, is damaged, you may need a root canal, which is a procedure to replace infected pulp in a root canal with an inert material.


If the pulp is not damaged, the tooth might only need a crown, which is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. Crowns fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

Implant-Supported Restoration

A dental implant, or titanium "screw" resembling a tooth root, is placed within the jaw bone to support restorations, replacing missing teeth.


A bridge, or replacement tooth called a pontic, spans the space where the teeth are missing and is cemented to the natural teeth surrounding the empty space.

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