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Updated on August 16, 2022

Temporary Chipped Tooth Repair at Home

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What to Do if You Chip a Tooth

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.

chipped tooth

How to Protect Your Tooth Until You See a Dentist

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:

Temporary Chipped Tooth Repair at Home

  1. If you chip or crack a tooth, rinse your mouth with warm salt water as soon as possible. Washing your mouth immediately with salt water will help clean the tooth and the soft tissues.
  2. Next, apply pressure to stop any bleeding. Set a cold compress on the area to reduce any swelling and pain.
  3. If you have the piece that broke off your tooth, wrap it securely in wet gauze. Take it with you to the dentist.

Home Remedies for Chipped Tooth Pain Relief

Before visiting the dentist, you can use several home remedies for pain relief from chipping a tooth:

1. Over-the-counter pain relievers

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.

2. Dental wax

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.

3. Temporary tooth repair kits

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.

When Does a Tooth Chip Require Treatment?

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:

  • Severe pain
  • Further damage to the tooth over time
  • Your tongue and other soft tissues being cut by the sharp or jagged edges of the cracked tooth
  • An infection of the pulp within the tooth, leading to a need for root canal therapy or even extraction

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.

When Does a Tooth Chip Not Require Treatment?

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.

6 Professional Tooth Repair Options

Here are the most common treatments for fixing chipped teeth:

1. Cosmetic Contouring

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.

2. Dental Bonding

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.

3. Root Canal

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.

4. Surgery

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.

5. Extraction

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.

6. Reattachment

In some cases, a dentist may reattach the broken part of a tooth. These procedures can typically be completed in a single visit.

Summary

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.

6 Sources Cited
Last updated on August 16, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Chipped, broken or cracked tooth.” United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS), April 2018.
  2. Abulhamael, Ayman M et al. “Treatment Decision-making of Cracked Teeth: Survey of American Endodontists.” The journal of contemporary dental practice vol. 20,5 : 543-547.
  3. Arabolu, Manikya et al. “Using an existing crown to repair a damaged cast post and core restoration.” Journal of international oral health : JIOH vol. 6,5 : 111-113.
  4. Hilton, Thomas J et al. “Recommended treatment of cracked teeth: Results from the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network.” The Journal of prosthetic dentistry vol. 123,1 : 71-78.
  5. Larson, Thomas D. “Enamel craze lines.” Northwest dentistry vol. 93,4 : 31-4.
  6. Mamoun, John S, and Donato Napoletano. “Cracked tooth diagnosis and treatment: An alternative paradigm.” European journal of dentistry vol. 9,2 : 293-303.
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