We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Best Ways to Treat a Broken Tooth?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

While it is possible to self-treat for some illnesses or injuries, a broken tooth is not one of them. Unfortunately, accidents frequently occur outside of typical dentists’ office hours. If tooth decay or an injury results causes a break, you need to know what to do until you can get to a dentist.

You can end up with a broken tooth in several ways. The two main culprits are tooth decay and injury and they can lead to chips, fractures, and breaks, which can sometimes create real problems. While a broken tooth often causes pain, it may not, depending on the extent of the damage. If there is pain, you may wish to apply an ice pack — but only use ice outside the mouth — to help reduce swelling and ease tooth pain. Using ice inside the mouth could create more pain especially if there is nerve damage. You can also take over-the-counter pain reliever.

Bleeding may occur as well. Place sterile gauze inside the mouth, gently packing it around the tooth. Bleeding should only last for a few minutes. Be sure to rinse your mouth gently once bleeding stops. If bleeding is heavy or continues for more than 10 to 15 minutes, consider calling the emergency room for advice.

Even if there is no bleeding or pain, there are certain steps you should take to protect your tooth until you can receive treatment. If the broken piece or pieces can be collected, rinse them carefully and be sure to set them aside in a safe place. Your dentist may be able to use them to repair the broken the tooth.

It’s not a good idea to attempt to reconstruct a broken tooth yourself. However, after rinsing your mouth well and setting aside the pieces, you may be able to cover or fill the hole with a temporary treatment until you can get to the dentist. Many drug stores and pharmacies sell small containers of dental cement that can be used for temporary treatment. This option is not recommended for long-term use as infection may develop.

If the break is not serious, very little if any treatment will be required. It’s still a good idea to see your dentist and let him or her decide the best course of action. Minor chips or fractures may simply require a bit of filing and polishing, while somewhat larger breaks may need to be cemented. If the break is serious, it may need to be extracted or you may need a root canal.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By myharley — On Jun 24, 2012

My mom is the type of person who tries to treat herself with home remedies and natural solutions. When she broke a tooth, she bought some of the cement at the drug store to help repair broken teeth.

This did work for awhile, but she thought it would be a long term solution and never made an appointment with her dentist because she didn't have any insurance.

She eventually began to have a lot of pain and her broken tooth ended up getting infected. She would have probably saved more money by having her dentist taking care of it right away instead of waiting and trying to do it herself.

By honeybees — On Jun 23, 2012

I ended up having a root canal done on a tooth that was broken. This tooth had been causing me pain for a few months and I tried to avoid eating on that side.

There must have been a small crack in my tooth that kept getting worse until it finally broke. My dentist said he could do a broken tooth filling as a temporary fix, but there was more damage done than that, and I needed a root canal.

The process of the root canal was worse than the broken tooth, but I know if I didn't have the root canal done, it would continue to get worse. I learned my lesson, and the next time I have problems with a tooth, I won't put off being seen by my dentist.

By John57 — On Jun 23, 2012

I never realized if your tooth broke into small pieces that you were supposed to keep them. It does make sense how the dentist might be able to use them again, but I would have never thought about doing that.

I know this sounds kind of gross, but when I broke a tooth, I accidentally swallowed the pieces. I didn't even realize this had happened until I was done eating.

At first I didn't even realize anything was wrong, but later felt a hole in my mouth and realized my tooth was broken. I didn't have any kind of pain but called my dentist for an appointment as soon as I could get in.

It sounds like there can be a wide range of pain, or lack of pain, when it comes to broken tooth symptoms. I was lucky that my broken tooth didn't cause me any pain at all.

By julies — On Jun 22, 2012

More than once I have wished they had some kind of emergency room treatment specifically for dental problems. It seems like when I have a problem with my teeth that needs care right away, it always happens when the dentist is not open.

My dentist is good at working people in if immediate treatment is needed, but sometimes there needs to be something done for the pain before then.

I got a broken tooth when playing basketball. I didn't see a ball coming, and it hit me hard on the top of my head, which caused me to break a tooth. I immediately had pain and knew it was going to be a long night

I took some over the counter pain medication which helped a little bit with the pain and throbbing, but I didn't get much sleep that night. Thankfully my dentist was able to fix my broken tooth the next day, and I hope something like that doesn't happen again.

By discographer — On Jun 22, 2012

I chipped my tooth three days ago and I haven't been to the dentist because I don't have insurance. To help with the pain, I've been dental cement to cover the chipped tooth. I think I must have exposed a nerve there because of the chipping. The pain seems to get worse when it's exposed to air and water. Keeping some dental cement on it helps. I remove the cement every night, clean it and then put a new piece in the morning. I'm hoping that this will keep infections out.

Do you think it'll be okay if I keep doing this for several more weeks until I can see a dentist? I don't want to make things worse by treating myself, but I really can't afford the dentist right now.

By ysmina — On Jun 21, 2012

@feruze-- I wasn't so lucky, my broken tooth was really bad. I could see the root of my tooth! It bled for sometime, I put pressure on it with a cotton for close to ten minutes. But the pain was just unbelievable, I couldn't move my mouth or talk. I took some pain reliever, an hour later, the pain was the same. It didn't help at all.

I finally called the emergency nurse line at my college. She told me to get a peroxide mouth wash and swish it around for a few minutes without swallowing. I got a friend to give me a ride to the pharmacy, picked up the mouthwash and used it as soon as I got home. In about ten minutes, the pain seemed to be less. I had to do that one more time before I went to bed so I could fall asleep.

If anyone has as much pain a I did when I broke my tooth, I also recommend using a peroxide mouth wash. It's not a broken tooth treatment, but it makes the pain tolerable until you can see a dentist.

By bear78 — On Jun 21, 2012

When my brother was young, he was quite the troublemaker. He would get in fights with other kids almost daily. One day he came home with a broken tooth.

It was late and we couldn't take him to the dentist that night. Thankfully, it wasn't bleeding and all he had was pain. So my mom put some liquid pain reliever on the tooth. It's the kind of pain reliever that pharmacies sell for toothaches. He spent the night that way and we took him to the dentist in the morning for broken tooth repair.

They cleaned and polished the tooth and then placed a dental crown on it. When we came home, my dad couldn't even tell which tooth he had broken. It looked good as new. My brother hasn't needed any more work on it since then.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.