Half My Tooth Broke Off

Having a cracked or fractured tooth can be a frightening and painful experience. These injuries might be the result of an unexpected impact to the mouth or face or simply from biting down on something hard like popcorn or ice. Fortunately, broken teeth can be repaired. When you suspect you have broken a tooth, you should immediately contact a dental professional for consultation and treatment.


Why Did My Tooth Crack?


Teeth can fracture for many reasons. Traumatic sports injuries can cause major damage across the mouth. Grinding your teeth (bruxism) or clenching your jaw can weaken teeth at the crown and root and lead to tooth injury. Biting down on hard candies or popcorn kernels or even ice can sometimes fracture a tooth. And the older a patient is, the more likely their teeth have weakened over time, increasing the risk of the enamel cracking or the whole tooth breaking.


Symptoms of Cracked Tooth Syndrome

The first and most common experience from a broken tooth is sudden and intense pain while biting or chewing. Sensitivity to hot and cold foods is also commonly experienced shortly after fracturing a tooth. The next symptom commonly reported is extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods, followed by swelling or inflammation near the site of the fracture and an off-an-on pain while chewing. Not all breaks result in all of these symptoms, however.


What Should I Do If My Tooth Cracks in Half?

While minor fractures or chips do not always require an emergency trip to the dentist, a tooth cracking in half will likely be painful, and a dental professional should be consulted immediately. When contacting a dental office, state that your tooth is broken. Oftentimes dentists will have an emergency appointment available or can refer you to another dentist who can see you quickly.


Treatment for a broken tooth should not be delayed as the pain will likely not subside on its own, and if left for too long may become infected. Bacteria from the mouth will flood into the exposed pulp and spread to the gum and bone of the jaw. If not treated, this infection can spread further to the head and neck and become life-threatening.


If you are unable to see a dentist immediately, certain at-home care can be administered, though it should only be used temporarily until proper treatment is available. Over the counter medications such as NSAIDs or acetaminophen can help with the pain, and salt-water rinses can soothe inflamed areas. Good general dental hygiene will help to stave off infection, just be sure to be gentle around the injured areas.


Treatment for Broken Teeth

In order to repair a broken tooth a dentist will evaluate the damage and ascertain what treatment options will be necessary. It is vital to see a dental professional quickly to save your broken tooth.

For small chips or cracks, sometimes only a filling or bonding material will be necessary. If a small piece has broken off, the rest of the tooth may be repaired by applying a crown. For severe fractures, endodontic surgery may be needed to remove the damaged portion of the tooth in order to save the pulp and root. In worst case scenarios, a root canal or entire tooth extraction may be necessary to prevent infection from spreading.

Is a broken tooth an emergency