What to Do If You Think You've Chipped or Broken a Tooth

Here’s a quick way to ruin a vacation: Break one of your teeth.

While the physical lives of children are more likely to result in cracked teeth than most adults’ lifestyles, the reality is that anyone can chip or break a tooth. Teeth that have been weakened by cavities or old dental work are especially prone to chips and breaks, but no teeth are immune. Teeth can crack or break due to a wide variety of causes, including:

In some cases, people may crack a tooth without even realizing it. (This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to maintain regular dental checkups—your dentist can identify any damage to your teeth that has gone unnoticed in your daily life.) In others, it will be clear that a tooth is chipped or broken because of symptoms such as pain that flares up after you bite down, sensitivity to hot or cold liquids, or feeling the chip or break with your tongue. You may even feel part of the tooth fall into (or out of) your mouth when the chip or break occurs.

If you suspect for any reason that one of your teeth is chipped or broken, your first response should be to call your dentist right away. Clearly describe your symptoms so your dentist can determine how quickly you need to be seen. Seeing your dentist is important even if you aren’t experiencing pain, because chipped or otherwise damaged teeth are more susceptible to further damage or infection.

While you’re waiting for your appointment, take the following steps:

Once you see your dentist, they will be able to determine the appropriate course of treatment. Some cracks are minor enough that they’re merely a cosmetic concern, while others might require treatment such as a filling, root canal, veneers, or (in extreme cases) tooth removal. Bottom line? A quick call to the dentist and a little self-care will significantly reduce the trauma of damaging a tooth.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What You Can Expect From Oral Surgery

Surgery of any kind can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what to expect. That’s why we're giving you a sneak peek into our oral surgery procedures, so you can feel fully prepared before your appointment.

Why Are My Gums Bleeding When I Floss?

It’s unsettling to see bright red streaks in the sink after cleaning your teeth. But if you know what’s behind the bleeding, you can quickly and confidently get the help you need. Here’s a closer look at the common causes of bleeding gums.

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Fear a Root Canal

If the sound of the dentist’s drill is enough to make you shake in your boots, it’s time you heard the truth about modern dental treatments, and how routine procedures like root canals are nothing to fear.

Root Canal vs. Extraction: Which Is Better?

When choosing treatment for an infected or damaged tooth, it’s always better to preserve a viable tooth. Saving a natural tooth with a root canal lets you protect your smile without an artificial tooth replacement such as a bridge or implant.