What Options Do You Have When You Break a Tooth?

A broken tooth can often be saved

Accidents do happen, and you may end up with a broken tooth. Whether you were involved in sports, you just fell, or something else, you want to know about your broken tooth options. There are some options, but some of them depend on how much tooth is left in your mouth and the condition it is in.


Chipped Tooth

When a tooth is chipped, it means that a small piece of it has broken off. It may be possible that the piece, if you have it, may be reattached if you visit a dentist quickly. If this is not possible, the dentist can use a bonding material for chipped tooth repair and make it look normal again. The material can be made the same color as your tooth. 


Cracked Tooth

How a cracked tooth is treated depends on the location of the crack and its depth. It also depends on whether it runs horizontally or vertically. Again, it may also depend on how soon after it is cracked as to what type of treatments are available. 

Cracked tooth treatment involves examining the tooth to determine the type and extent of the crack. Because food may be able to get into the crack, getting the tooth treated quickly is important. If it is split completely, the tooth cannot be saved. 

Some teeth develop tiny cracks in them. Many adults will have them, but they are not damaging the tooth and usually are shallow and do not go into the second layer – the dentin. 


Why Teeth Break

Although teeth are naturally hard, they still can break. A lack of the right vitamins and minerals in the diet can weaken the teeth and make them more susceptible to breaking. Chewing on hard substances such as ice or hard candies can often cause a tooth to chip or break, as well as grinding your teeth. The acids in citrus juice and sodas can weaken the enamel, making them more susceptible to breaking. 


Broken Tooth

When a tooth is broken, this could mean that a large part or the entire top of the tooth – the crown – has broken off. Several things could cause this to happen, the first being tooth decay. When a tooth has been weakened on the inside by a cavity, it no longer has the same strength.

A broken tooth could also be caused by a filling falling out, or a crown breaking off. Of course, a blow to the face or jaw could also cause it, as well as a fall. 

Broken Tooth Options

  • Fillings

If the tooth has had a filling fall out, the dentist can often simply put a new one in. Fillings can fall out if they have been in for some time, or if the remaining tooth is weak.

  • Crowns

When the top portion of the tooth is broken off above the gum line the dentist may recommend a dental crown. This involves removing the rest of the tooth above the gum line, and shaping part of it to be able to accept a cap, or crown. Crowns are generally made in a lab, but a temporary one is likely to be used until it arrives.

Crowns are made of different materials and are often tooth colored. Common materials are porcelain or zirconia. A porcelain crown is more natural looking, but zirconia is stronger. Other materials are also available, such as gold. 

Having a new crown put on a tooth often means a root canal. This involves killing the nerve in the tooth, disinfecting it, and replacing it with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha. Once that is completed, a temporary crown will be put on the tooth until the permanent one comes from the lab. 


Tooth Replacement

When a broken tooth is too seriously damaged and the dentist cannot save it, dental extraction becomes necessary. Replacing the tooth still means there are some options.


Dental Implants

A dental implant is a titanium screw that is put in the place of the extracted tooth. It is screwed into the jawbone, and then a dental crown is put on top. Implants can be used to replace one tooth, a couple of teeth, or even all of them. While often permanent, they can also be used to hold a removable partial denture. Implants have the advantage that they are most like your natural teeth because they are anchored, whereas a denture can slip and cause problems with eating or speaking. 



A bridge is an artificial tooth that is permanently attached to two adjacent teeth. The false tooth is a crown. It will look like a real tooth when put in place. 

When you have a broken tooth and need an emergency dentist, it is important to see a dentist quickly. The sooner you go, the more likely that the tooth can be saved – depending on the damage. Dr. Kumar Vadivel DDS, FDS RCS, MS, is a Board-certified periodontist who performs broken tooth repair. If you live in the Carrollton, Cedar hill, Dallas, or Grapevine, TX areas, you can call his office today at (214) 747-0123 and ask for a FREE consultation.