5 Tips on Treating a Broken Tooth

Broken Tooth McLean, VA

Teeth can be damaged in a variety of ways, and a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth can be extremely painful. Unless the damage is limited to a slight chip, there is no way to adequately fix it without a trip to the dentist. In the meantime, you should protect the tooth and your mouth while minimizing the pain.

What to do for a chipped or broken tooth

Dentists do not promote attempts to fix a broken tooth at home, but there are steps you can take to protect the tooth and your mouth until you can see a professional.

Clean the mouth

The American Dental Association recommends a warm water rinse for your mouth to clean it after breaking or chipping a tooth. Swish a cup of warm water in your mouth with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in it for approximately one minute to help avoid infection. Repeat this rinse following each meal until you are able to see your dentist. 

Pain relief

You should apply pressure to stem any bleeding. Apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth every few minutes in order to reduce swelling. Anti-inflammatories and over-the-counter pain relievers may be used to reduce pain or inflammation. Clove oil may also be applied. This contains eugenol, which is a numbing agent that also fights inflammation.

Protect your mouth

You should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth containing the damaged tooth. Floss with care as well to prevent irritation. If the broken tooth has a jagged edge, use dental wax on the broken part to prevent it from cutting your tongue or the side of your mouth. Dental wax can be found at most drugstores in temporary repair kids, which may also include material that can fill in gaps of a broken tooth. Remember that these kits should not substitute for professional care to prevent infection, tooth loss, and other possible complications. 

Dental treatments for a broken tooth

Depending on the size and location of the break or crack in your tooth, possible professional treatment procedures could range from polishing to extraction.

Slight chip

In the case of slight damage, your dentist may perform cosmetic contouring to polish the surface and smooth a jagged edge. Dental bonding may also be used for filling in gaps. Sometimes this process can reattach a broken piece of tooth, so make sure you wrap any tooth fragments in wet gauze and bring it with you to your appointment.

Deep crack

A tooth that is cracked deeper than the surface needs more extensive repair. If the crack reaches the pulp of the tooth, a root canal may be required. Molars have multiple roots. If only one root is damaged, a hemisection can be performed to amputate the damaged root and save the remaining tooth. If a crack is too deep and a root canal is not effective, the tooth may be extracted. 


Although a cracked or broken tooth is painful and distressing, it may not be that serious and may require minimal treatment. However, a visit to the dentist is always recommended in case the damage is more extensive than you think.

Request an appointment here: https://www.oaktreefamilydental.com or call Oak Tree Dental at (703) 763-5239 for an appointment in our McLean office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: What Should I Do If I Chip My Tooth in McLean, VA.

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