Updated on February 7, 2024
4 min read

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.

3d render of lower jaw with broken or chipped tooth

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.

How to Protect Your Damaged Tooth Until You See a Dentist

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:

How To Fix a Chipped Tooth at Home Temporarily

  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:

1. Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

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.

2. Dental Wax

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.

3. Temporary Tooth Repair Kits

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.

Can I File Down a Sharp Tooth Chip Using a Nail File?

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.

When Should You See a Dentist for Repair?

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:

  • 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, which can lead 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 chip 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 frequent occurrences and can be left alone.

3d render of a cracked tooth with a hairline crack

Craze lines are a common condition, for example. These are small cracks that develop in the tooth enamel only.

Summary

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.

Last updated on February 7, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 7, 2024
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), 2018.
  2. Abulhamael, Ayman M, et al. “Treatment Decision-making of Cracked Teeth: Survey of American Endodontists.” The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice, 2019.
  3. Arabolu, Manikya, et al. “Using an existing crown to repair a damaged cast post and core restoration.” Journal of International Oral Health, 2014.
  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, 2020. 
  5. Larson, Thomas D. “Enamel craze lines.” Northwest Dentistry, 2014.
  6. Mamoun, John S, and Donato Napoletano. “Cracked tooth diagnosis and treatment: An alternative paradigm.” European Journal of Dentistry, 2015.
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