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Having a cracked or broken tooth is no joke, especially if it leaves you with a painful toothache. Cracked or broken teeth can happen if the inner workings of your tooth pulp become exposed, whether from the tooth’s nerves, blood vessels, or connective tissue. You will want to have it treated as quickly as possible by our endodontist if the dental nerve was damaged to prevent it from getting even worse.

While you are waiting for professional treatment, you can do the following to minimize discomfort and help with the pain.

At-Home Care

  • Bite down gently on some clean gauze.
  • Rinse your mouth several times a day with warm salt water to lower oral bacteria around the damaged tooth.
  • Lightly and carefully floss between the fractured or broken teeth to remove oral debris and relieve pain.
  • Avoid food and drinks at temperature extremes since the sensitive dentin layer below the enamel may be exposed.
  • Stay away from highly sugary or acidic foods and drinks, so they don’t irritate your tooth’s nerves.
  • Don’t eat or bite down on a cracked tooth even if the tooth is still intact to avoid increasing the chances of a root fracture.
  • An over-the-counter (OTC) pain-relief medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can make a significant difference.
  • An OTC dental anesthetic of benzocaine or lidocaine can be used to numb the area for pain relief.
  • Avoid aspirin, which slows blood clotting and is bad if you end up requiring a root canal.
  • Keep your head elevated, even when sleeping, to relieve tooth pressure.

What causes chipped or cracked teeth?

  • Biting down on something hard: Accidentally biting down on crunchy ice, hard candy, popcorn kernel or a bone.
  • Bruxism: Constantly clenching and grinding your teeth weakens protective tooth enamel, leaving you with a chipped or cracked tooth.
  • Cavities: Cavities from tooth decay weaken tooth enamel, leaving you vulnerable to chipping.
  • Accidental Injury: Being hit in the face or mouth while playing sports, a car accident, or interpersonal injury.
  • Lax Oral Hygiene Habits: Neglecting your daily oral hygiene routine can lead to weakened enamel, cavities, and chipped or cracked teeth.

Endodontic Treatment

Treating your damaged tooth can depend on the type of damage and the size of the damaged area. For both cracked or chipped teeth, some questions to ask include:

  • Does the crack tooth impact just the tooth enamel, or does it reach into the tooth’s root exposing the nerves?
  • Does it hurt more when you chew, eat or drink hot or cold food and drinks?
  • Do you feel tooth sensitivity and pain when you consume cold foods and drinks?

Tiny chips are typically repaired by smoothing and polishing the chipped tooth, so it looks and feels good again. A medium-sized chip in the tooth enamel might require the help of a dental filling, crown, or cap to give the tooth its former look and function again while protecting the inner layers of the teeth (dentin and pulp) from getting infected. A large chip may require a root canal if its roots have been exposed and followed by a crown or cap to restore function and appearance.

Once the tooth has been evaluated, it can be repaired, so your smile looks whole again. If you have a toothache, that’s a good sign that the pulp needs to be treated and relieve the pain. Ultimately, this endodontic treatment depends on the tooth damage, whether it is a baby or adult tooth, and the type of injury.

If you have any concerns about a damaged tooth and the accompanying pain, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team and get the help and information you need. Your smile deserves the best care possible!