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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 don’t advise at-home treatment to fix a chipped or broken tooth.
However, there are some steps you can take to manage pain and protect your teeth and mouth from further damage:
Before visiting the dentist, you can use several home remedies for pain relief:
Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter (OTC) medications can help reduce pain. Be sure to 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 put 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 isn’t the best solution, especially if you have a big chip or are missing a section of the tooth.
If you use dental wax, avoid chewing on the damaged side. Try flossing around the tooth to reduce irritation and pressure.
Different types of temporary tooth repair kits are available in drugstores and online.
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.
Tooth replacement kits aren’t a final solution. They can be helpful while waiting to visit a dentist. However, they don’t address the more significant issues that could lead to infection, tooth loss, or other oral health complications.
While filing down a sharp edge on a tooth chip is technically possible, it isn’t a safe option. Most dentists don’t recommend this method, as you can further damage your tooth and compromise your oral health.
A professional with knowledge of tooth anatomy, structure, and enamel should be the only one to perform cosmetic contouring. This procedure also requires equipment that meets dental sanitization standards.
You’ll likely need to visit a dentist for any tooth damage, 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 aren’t visible because they hide inside the tooth or below the gum. They may not be painful initially, making them even harder to detect.
If unsure, make an appointment immediately to prevent a chipped tooth from becoming a dental emergency.
Neglecting a broken tooth could lead to complications such as:
No effective DIY home remedies can prevent these complications over the long-term unless the chip 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 frequent occurrences and can be left alone.
Here are the typical treatments for fixing chipped teeth:
Dentists often use cosmetic contouring to fix minor tooth chips. The procedure involves polishing a tooth's surface to smooth out any broken or jagged edge.
Dentists can also use dental bonding 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 tooth chip may require more extensive repair if it goes deeper than the surface. If the damage reaches the pulp, you may need root canal treatment.
This procedure is far less painful than it once was. Typically, it’s no more painful than receiving a dental filling.
Molars have more than one root. If there’s damage to just one root, a hemisection may be necessary to save the rest of the tooth.
A hemisection is a root amputation surgery that requires a root canal and dental crown. Dentists rarely perform this procedure anymore due to the introduction of implants.
If a root canal isn’t enough to save a chipped or cracked tooth, your dentist may opt to extract the tooth.
The deeper the crack, the more tooth extraction becomes a likely treatment.
In some cases, a dentist can reattach the broken part of a tooth. Typically, they can complete the procedure in a single visit.
A broken or chipped tooth can become a dental emergency if it doesn’t receive treatment promptly. However, while you are awaiting dental care, you can take steps to manage a tooth injury.
Minor chips are treatable without professional intervention.
If you have concerns about a tooth injury, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
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