Types Of Fractured Teeth

fractured teethTooth fractures come in different shapes and sizes.  Each type may need to be treated differently.  Here are some different types of fractured teeth that you may come across.

Minor cracks – Also known as craze lines, minor cracks are surface cracks that affect the tooth enamel.  They don’t need any treatment, but your dentist may polish the area to smooth rough spots.

Cracked tooth – A cracked tooth is a fracture that affects the whole tooth.  It affects the surfaced used for chewing and the nerve of the tooth.  Your dentist will fill the cracks with dental filling materials. They may also place a crown on the tooth to prevent it from cracking again. If too much damage is done to the nerves, it may require a root canal.

Chipped tooth – A minor chip can be polished and evened out by your dentist. It may need a bit of repair with filing material to prevent it getting worse.

Broken cusp – These are fractures that affect the pointed cusps or chewing surface of your teeth. They don’t affect the pulp and may not even cause any pain.  Your dentist will need to repair it, especially if it disrupts chewing.

Serious break – These deeper breaks that can expose and affect the nerve will cause pain and sensitivity. The broken part of the tooth may even bleed.  You will most likely need a root canal to remove the nerve that is exposed and a crown to make it possible to eat and chew.

Split tooth – Sometimes the tooth will split into separate parts.  A root canal will need to be done and the damaged roots will be removed by the dentist.  It will then be covered by a crown.  If the root is to badly damaged, the entire tooth will need to be removed.

Decay induced break – If the tooth has been decayed and riddled with cavities, it will weaken the tooth.  It can then be broken more easily. In certain cases, the tooth may need to be removed.

Fractured Teeth Types And Treatment|Dental Health

Dental Emergency 9-1-1!

safety first signYou’re spending the afternoon with your family at the park. The kids are playing Frisbee in an open area when all of a sudden you hear a crash and a scream from your youngest. He’s holding something in his hand and between sobs you can see blood gathering in his mouth and that there’s an open spot where his canine is supposed to be. He’s lost a tooth. The fact is, dental emergencies happen; and that time until you can get in to see a dentist can be a crucial one. Here are some tips to follow if you happen to run into some tooth turmoil:

Knocked-Out Tooth:


  • Pick up tooth by the crown (top part), NOT the root.
  • Rinse blood or debris off the tooth with milk (milk is the best way to keep the tooth from drying) or cold running water if milk isn’t available.
  • If possible, reinsert tooth back into socket and gently push it in with your finger or bite a clean cloth to hold it in.
  • If you can’t reinsert it, place the tooth in a container of milk, or a damp cloth if milk isn’t available.
  • Get to the dentist immediately – teeth that are replanted within 30 minutes have the best chances of surviving.


  • Don’t touch or scrub the root.

Bleeding in the Mouth:


  • Use clean gauze to apply pressure to the area bleeding for 5 minutes to try and stop bleeding.
  • If bleeding continues, press a moistened tea bag against the cut for 5 minutes.
  • If you can’t stop bleeding call your dentist.
  • If bleeding won’t stop, is significant and you are unable to reach your dentist, go to the hospital.


  • Don’t rinse your mouth (especially if the bleeding is caused by an extracted tooth, rinsing can affect the socket).

Broken Tooth:


  • Gather any broken pieces and rinse mouth with warm water.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Place gum or dental wax over any sharp edges of remaining tooth to avoid further cuts and damage to your mouth.
  • If the break involved the dentin or pulp of the tooth, call your dentist immediately.
  • If the break only involved crown or enamel of the tooth, call your dentist as soon as possible.


  • Don’t eat hard foods.

Broken or Lost Filling/Crown:


  • Save the filling/crown to bring with you to the dentist.
  • Place dental wax over any sharp edges to prevent damage or cuts to your mouth.
  • Use denture adhesive to reattach a crown until you can get in to see your dentist.
  • Make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.


  • Don’t try to replace a filling yourself.
  • Don’t eat very hot or cold foods/drinks.



  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Apply ice to the area.
  • Remove any food particles or debris between teeth with dental floss.
  • Call your dentist for advice and have the tooth examined if needed.


  • Don’t place any pain reliever directly on the tooth/gum.
  • Don’t use or apply any heat.
  • Don’t eat extreme foods (very hot, cold, sweet or spicy).

Mouth Sores:


  • Use an over-the-counter anesthetic (like Orajel) for temporary relief.
  • Rinse mouth with warm salt water.
  • Apply ice or a paste (by mixing baking soda and water) to the sore for a few minutes.
  • See your dentist if the sore doesn’t heal in about a week, it could be a sign of a bigger problem.


  • Don’t put aspirin or pain relievers directly on the sore.
  • Don’t take antibiotics unless they are actually prescribed for the sore.
  • Don’t use any steroid creams.
  • Don’t use a hot pack.

Broken Dental Appliances:


  • Save all pieces to bring them to your dentist.
  • Cover any sharp spots or protrusions with dental wax to prevent further damage or injury/irritation.
  • If a denture, remove until you can get to the dentist.
  • See your dentist as soon as possible.


  • Don’t try to bend, fix or glue pieces back together yourself.
  • Don’t wrap pieces in a tissue, because it could easily be thrown away by mistake.

Dental emergencies aren’t the end of the world, but they can be painful and scary! Remember that in the event of a dental emergency, your number one resource is a dentist. These are just some things to keep in mind and do until you can call or get to them! girl with broken tooth

What To Do If You Break a Tooth

Summer is just around the corner! And sometimes with outdoor summertime activities comes an increased risk of injury as well. Hopefully you don’t encounter a broken tooth, but if you do, follow this advice by Sandy Johnson, RDH, to be prepared and ready to deal with it the best way possible.

  • Make an appointment with your dental care provider ASAP, same day if possible. They will help you gauge what your best option is in treating the broken tooth.
  • Until you can get in to see your dentist:
    • rinse your mouth with warm water.
    • apply a wet cloth to an area to stop any bleeding.
    • apply a cold pack to your chin, cheek or jaw to reduce any swelling.
    • take ibuprofen or aspirin to help relieve pain.

If the entire tooth comes out:

  • Keep the tooth!! Your dentist may be able to actually bond it back into place.
  • Don’t let the tooth dry out. Put it in either milk, or if milk isn’t available you can keep it in bottles water, contact solution, tap water or under your tongue (but make sure you don’t swallow it!).

A tooth that has chipped, broke or fallen out is never a fun experience, but don’t fret! Follow these tips and get to your dentist as soon as possible, and you and your tooth will be just fine!

You can read Sandy Johnson, RDH’s original article here.