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Chipping, cracking, or breaking a tooth can be painful. Depending on your dental health and the type of injury, the damage can be minor or extensive.
Unless the damage is a slight chip, there is no permanent way to fix it without visiting a dentist.
The best thing you can do before visiting a professional is to address the pain and protect your teeth and mouth to avoid additional injury.
Dentists do not advise home treatment to fix a broken tooth.
However, there are some steps you can take to protect your teeth and mouth:
Before visiting the dentist, you can use several home remedies for pain relief from chipping a tooth:
Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter (OTC) medications can help reduce pain but follow the package's directions. Never take more than the recommended dosage.
You can also use clove oil on the injured area to help lessen the pain. It contains eugenol, a numbing ingredient with anti-inflammatory features.
If your tooth has a tiny chip and a jagged edge, you can set dental wax over the edge.
Dental wax prevents any sharpness from slicing your tongue or damaging your mouth. Many drugstores sell over-the-counter temporary fix kits with dental wax.
This home remedy is not recommended if you have a big chip or a section of a tooth that is missing.
If you use dental wax, avoid chewing on the side with the damaged tooth. Try flossing around the tooth to reduce irritation and pressure.
Different types of temporary tooth repair kits are available in drugstores and online.
While these kits should not replace professional oral care and treatment, they can be helpful while waiting to visit a dentist.
Tooth replacement kits are temporary and do not address the more significant issues that could lead to infection, tooth loss, or other oral health complications.
Some kits include dental wax, while others provide material that can mold into the shape of a tooth to fill any gaps on chipped teeth.
You will likely need to visit a dentist for any breakage, except for very small cracks or chips. This is because it's challenging to see how severe the damage might be without X-rays.
Sometimes, cracks are not visible because they hide inside the tooth or below the gum. They may not be painful at first, making them even harder to detect.
If you're unsure, make an appointment immediately to prevent a chipped tooth from becoming a dental emergency. Leaving a broken tooth untreated could lead to complications such as:
No effective DIY home remedies can prevent these complications over the long-term unless the chipping is very minor. You should seek professional treatment as soon as possible to avoid further problems.
Not every chip or crack is severe enough to require treatment. Small cracks and chips are quite common. For example, craze lines are common. These are small cracks that develop in the tooth enamel only.
Here are the most common treatments for fixing chipped teeth:
Cosmetic contouring is often used to fix minor tooth chips. The procedure involves polishing a tooth's surface to smooth out any broken/sharp edges.
Dental bonding can be used to fill in gaps and spaces on a chipped tooth.
During this procedure, your dentist will lightly abrade the tooth and apply a conditioning liquid. Then they will apply a tooth-colored composite resin and form it into the correct shape.
A chipped tooth may require more extensive repair if it goes deeper than the surface. For example, if the damage reaches the pulp, it may indicate the need for root canal treatment.
This procedure is far less painful than it used to be. Typically, it is no more painful than receiving a dental filling.
Molars have more than one root. If just one is damaged or fractured, a root amputation may be necessary to save the rest of the tooth. This procedure is called hemisection. A root canal and dental crown are required.
Note: This procedure is rarely performed anymore with the introduction of implants.
Extraction is necessary if a root canal is not enough to save a chipped or cracked tooth. The deeper the crack, the more likely tooth extraction is required.
In some cases, a dentist may reattach the broken part of a tooth. These procedures can typically be completed in a single visit.
A broken or chipped tooth can become a dental emergency if not treated promptly. Some minor chips can be handled without professional treatment, and you can take steps to manage an injured tooth while awaiting dental care.
If you have any concerns about a tooth injury, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
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