Broken tooth - What Do I do - Plano Texas

In this post, we discuss methods of treatment for broken teeth, causes for them, and how you can tell how severe of an emergency it is.

broken tooth what do i do

Teeth are very strong, however, they may chip, crack (fracture) or even break. Several reasons may cause this to happen:

  • Biting down on something hard
  • Being hit in the face
  • Falling
  • Cavities that can weaken the tooth
  • Large, old amalgam fillings that don’t support the remaining enamel of the tooth

When a crack or chip happens to a tooth, it may not hurt. Your tongue will feel the sharp edge, but minor fractures usually do not cause a great deal of pain.

If a large piece is broken off, it will be painful. Damage may have been caused to the nerve endings (exposing the dentin). If the nerve endings are exposed to air, hot or cold food or drinks, extreme discomfort will occur. Pain from a cracked or broken tooth may be constant or come and go. Most will experience pain when chewing because there is pressure on the tooth.

What Can Cause a Tooth to Chip?

1. Bruxism.

Clenching and grinding your teeth together can gradually but persistently erode your teeth, especially at their chewing surfaces. Weakened enamel is much more prone to chip off at even the slightest application of pressure. If you grind your teeth, Your dentist can help protect your enamel by creating a custom made mouth guard for you to wear. This plastic oral appliance fits over your teeth to shield them from damage. Since most people grind their teeth at night, we typically recommend wearing this device during sleep.

If you grind your teeth, Your dentist can help protect your enamel by creating a custom made mouth guard for you to wear. This plastic oral appliance fits over your teeth to shield them from damage. Since most people grind their teeth at night, we typically recommend wearing this device during sleep.

Related: Teeth grinding

2. High impact Sports.

Oral trauma is one of the leading causes of chipping, so athletic activities can raise your risk for this condition. Falling, crashing into another player, or getting hit with a ball could chip one or more of your teeth.

If you play a high-impact sport like hockey, football, baseball, or basketball, it is imperative that you wear a protective oral appliance over your teeth during practices and games. Dr. Wilhite can fit you for a custom made sports guard.

3. Decay.

Caries-causing bacteria produce acids that eat away at your enamel, causing it to break down and become discolored. Teeth with caries are also more likely to chip, which can cause even further damage, since this opening may allow bacteria to infect the internal portion of your tooth.

If you have a cavity, your Dentist can remove the diseased portion of the tooth and place a tooth-colored filling to repair it. If you suffer from an infected tooth pulp, we can perform root canal therapy to clean it and place a dental crown to fortify it against future chipping.

4. Poor Nutrition.

What you eat has a lot to do with your chances for chipping. Consuming sugary, starchy, or acidic foods can erode your enamel and make your teeth more vulnerable to decay. In addition, eating snacks that put undue pressure on your teeth can raise your risk for damage.

We also recommend avoiding chewing on ice, jawbreakers, or any other excessively hard, brittle foods that unnecessarily test your teeth.

Related: Worst foods for your teeth

Can You Fix A Broken Tooth?

Treatment for a broken or chipped tooth will depend on how severely it is damaged. If only a small piece of enamel broke off, the repair can usually be done simply in one office visit. A badly damaged or broken tooth may require a more lengthy and costly procedure. Here are some ways your dentist may repair your broken or chipped tooth.

Dental Filling or Bonding

Your dentist may repair the damage with a filling or use a procedure called bonding, which uses a tooth-colored composite resin. Bonding is a simple procedure that typically does not require numbing the tooth. To bond a tooth, the dentist first etches its surface with a liquid or gel to roughen it and make the bonding material adhere to it. Next, the dentist applies an adhesive material to the tooth followed by a tooth colored resin. After shaping the bonding material to look like a natural tooth, the dentist uses an ultraviolet light to harden the material.

Dental Cap or Crown

A dentist may grind or file away part of the remaining tooth and cover it with a crown, or tooth-shaped cap, made to protect the tooth and improve its appearance. Permanent crowns can be made from metal, porcelain fused to metal, all resin, or all ceramic. All-metal crowns are the strongest. Porcelain and resin crowns can be made to look nearly identical to the original tooth.

Related: Bruxzir Crowns – Solution for People Who Grind Their Teeth?

Dental Veneers

A dental veneer can make it look whole and healthy again. It is a thin shell of tooth-colored porcelain or resin composite material that covers the whole front of the tooth with a thicker section to replace the broken part of the tooth.

Related: Six Issues Porcelain Veneers Can Fix

We hope that this article helps you if you are dealing with a broken or cracked tooth. We recommend you visit a dentist as soon as possible so they can help you and work to prevent further issues in the future.


Plano Dentist David WilhiteDavid Wilhite is a Plano Dentist specializing in cosmetic dentistry with over 30 years experience in general and pediatric dentistry.

Let us help you create a beautiful smile!

Contact us online or call (972) 964-3774