Have you ever experienced that awful moment when you are chewing something and hear a cracking noise? Or have you ever fallen and then realized you’ve knocked out part of a tooth? These situations can be painful and also embarrassing if the broken tooth is visible when you talk.

My tooth broke – Now what?!

When a tooth breaks, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible. If the break is due to a fall or any other type of trauma, first make sure that you are okay – if you have injured yourself elsewhere you may need a visit to the emergency room. Like any other injury, there are different levels of severity with broken teeth. A small little fracture may not need any treatment at all, maybe just smoothing of a sharp edge. Some breaks may compromise the nerve of the tooth and require root canal treatment. A large break may leave too little tooth structure behind to the point where the tooth cannot be saved.

Steps to take if you break a tooth.

If you can find the piece of your tooth that has broken, you can bring it into the dental office. Sometimes, depending on how the tooth has broken, the dentist may be able to re-attach the broken piece. Or it may give clues to the reason for the break.

Will I need a crown?

Sometimes once a tooth has broken, it is recommended to place a crown – also known as a cap. Crowns can help to prevent future tooth fracture due to the way they circumferentially protect the tooth. This is especially important in teeth with root canals as they are more brittle than teeth with healthy nerves.

What if I knocked my whole tooth out?

If you have knocked out your entire tooth, try to find it and handle it by the crown. Timing is of the utmost importance in this scenario. You should try to see a dentist within an hour of the event to increase the odds that they can replace the tooth. The tooth should be kept in milk or saline until you get to the dentist.