Woman suffering from toothache

What to Do if a Tooth Has Broken or Chipped

Accidents happen in the most unexpected moments. They can leave you shocked and at a loss for what to do. This is also applicable to breaking or chipping a tooth. If you are here after immediately experiencing a broken or chipped tooth, we want to encourage you to take a deep breath and read on. 

A crack, chip, or breakage in a tooth can be quite painful. Besides experiencing pain, you might also notice swelling or sensitivity. There is really no permanent way to resolve a broken or chipped tooth without seeing a dentist. However, there are some measures you can take to relieve the pain, protect the tooth, and protect the inside of your mouth from further injury. 

What to Do After Breaking a Tooth:

The first thing you will want to do after breaking a tooth is to rinse your mouth with warm water. This will help keep the area clean and avoid further complications such as infection. If there is bleeding, you will want to apply pressure to the area. Lastly, you will need to place a cold compress in the area to reduce swelling. You can also wrap up the broken tooth piece in a wet gauze and bring it to your appointment if you are able to find it.

Relieving Pain from a Chipped Tooth:

Similarly to when breaking a tooth, you will want to rinse the mouth with warm water immediately after chipping a tooth to keep the area clean. You will then apply a cold compress to the outside area to diminish the chances of swelling. If the inflammation persists, you might want to consider over-the-counter anti inflammation medicine. Clove oil can also help alleviate the swelling as it contains anti-inflammatory properties. 

Steps to Take if You Lose a Tooth: 

There is no ideal situation when it comes to losing a tooth. In the best case scenario, you will grab the tooth with a gauze and pop it back in its socket. You will want to rinse the tooth if it is dirty. If you are unable to place it back in the socket, put it into a glass of milk. You will want to get to our dental office within 30 minutes for the best chances of success. 

Repairing a Broken or Chipped Tooth

There are different methods that can be used to repair a broken or chipped tooth. The solution chosen for your individual case will depend on many factors. We wanted to highlight some of the most common solutions below but we also wanted you to understand that each situation is unique and requires assessment before an alternative can be selected. 

Chipped Tooth Treatment

A chipped tooth damage can vary a lot. Slight chips can be fixed by polishing the surface of the tooth. They can also be fixed by smoothing a broken or jagged edge. There is also the option to use dental bonding to fill the gaps and fissures. 

Bonding is performed by slightly abrading the tooth, dabbing on a liquid for conditioning, and applying a tooth-colored composite resin. They will then form into the right shape. Our team can sometimes re-attach the broken piece of tooth.

Root Canal

Sometimes when a tooth breaks or chips, the injury goes further than meets the eye. It can often be found to go all the way down to the pulp. In such a case, a root canal might be the best treatment alternative. This can be a lengthier process than the one explained above but it is a long-term solution that is worth the effort. 


Sometimes the tooth that gets damaged happens to be a molar. Molars have more than one root. If one of the roots gets cracked, it is worth exploring a root amputation as a treatment option. This is referred to as a hemisection. You can expect a root canal and crown to be placed on the remaining tooth. 

Tooth Extraction

In extreme cases, a root canal is not enough to save a tooth. In these circumstances, extraction is the best option. This is especially true if the crack extends below the gum line. You are able to replace your tooth with an implant afterwards so that your smile is complete once again. 

The above information is very generic. We understand that each case is unique and would love to provide you with options that are fitted to your specific situation. If you are experiencing a chipped or broken tooth, please call us to book an appointment. Our team is here to help you during this challenging moment.

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