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What to do if you chip or break a tooth?

“What to do if you chip or break a tooth?” It’s a common dental mishap that can occur unexpectedly, causing discomfort and concern. Understanding how to react quickly and appropriately can greatly impact your dental well-being and help prevent additional harm.

In this guide, we’ll explore the steps to take if you find yourself facing a chipped or broken tooth, offering practical tips and insights to help you navigate this dental emergency with confidence.

How to Take Care of a Chipped or Broken Tooth

  • See your dentist promptly if your tooth is chipped, broken, or fractured to prevent further damage or infection.
  • Take acetaminophen or any other pain reliever if the tooth is painful, and rinse your mouth with salt water.
  • Cover the sharp edges with wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to avoid cutting your tongue, lip, or cheek.
  • Stick to soft foods to avoid biting down on the broken tooth until it’s repaired.

Treatment for a broken or chipped tooth varies based on the extent of the damage. Minor chips can be fixed in one office visit, while more severe damage may require a longer and costlier procedure. 

How does a Dentist repair your broken or chipped tooth?

The treatment to repair a chipped or broken tooth depends on the extent of the tooth damage and its location. Here are common treatment options:

Dental Bonding:

Used for minor chips, dental bonding involves the application of tooth-colored composite resin to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. It’s a quick and straightforward procedure that can often be completed in one office visit.

Dental Crown:

When a significant portion of the tooth is damaged, a dental crown may be necessary to provide strength and protection. A crown covers the entire visible portion of the tooth right above the gum line and restores its shape, size, and strength.

Dental Veneers

A dental veneer can restore a broken or chipped front tooth, giving it a healthy appearance. To apply the veneer, your dentist removes a small amount of enamel from the tooth’s surface. A dental impression is made and sent to a dental laboratory to craft a veneer. Once completed, the veneer is bonded to the prepared tooth using a specialized cement. A special light is then used to harden the cement quickly.

Root Canal Therapy:

Root canal therapy may be required if the pulp of the tooth is exposed or damaged due to a chip or break. This procedure includes removing the infected or damaged tissue from the tooth’s interior, cleaning and disinfecting of the root canal, and sealing it to prevent further infection.

Tooth Extraction:

Extraction may be necessary in severe cases where the tooth cannot be saved. Tooth extraction involves removing the damaged or decayed tooth from its socket in the jawbone. After the extraction, tooth replacement options, like dental implants or bridges, can be considered to regain function and aesthetics.

Each treatment option aims to restore the tooth’s health, function, and appearance while addressing the patient’s specific needs. Your dentist will assess the damage and suggest a treatment plan to achieve optimal outcomes.

Prevention Tips for chipping or breaking a tooth

  • Avoid Chewing on Hard Objects: Don’t bite hard objects such as ice cubes, pens, or hard candies, as they can potentially chip or break your teeth.
  • Use a Mouthguard During Sports: If you engage in sports activities, particularly contact sports or those with a risk of impact, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from injury.
  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Maintain regular dental hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily.
  • Visit Your Dentist Regularly: Schedule regular dental check-ups with your dentist to detect and address any potential dental issues before they escalate.
  • Address Teeth Grinding: To avoid grinding your teeth at night, consider discussing with your dentist the option of wearing a nightguard to help prevent tooth damage.
  • Be Cautious with Hard Foods: Be mindful when eating hard foods, and take care not to bite down forcefully on items like nuts or hard candies that could cause tooth damage.
  • Seek Quick Treatment: If you notice any signs of tooth decay or damage, such as sensitivity or pain, consult your dentist promptly to address the issue before it worsens.


Knowing what to do if you chip or break a tooth is essential for maintaining your oral health and minimizing the impact of dental emergencies. Remember, your dentist is your partner in preserving your dental health, so don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance whenever you need it.


Can a chipped tooth heal on its own?

Unfortunately, a chipped tooth cannot heal on its own. It requires professional dental care to prevent further damage and restore its integrity.

How soon should I see a dentist if I chip or break a tooth?

It’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible after chipping or breaking a tooth to prevent complications and ensure proper treatment.

Can I use over-the-counter remedies to fix a chipped or broken tooth?

Over-the-counter remedies may provide temporary relief but are not a permanent solution. It’s best to seek professional dental care for proper treatment and restoration.

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