Broken tooth – causes and therapy

This text complies with the requirements of medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been reviewed by physicians.

A broken tooth is definitely an unpleasant event in the first moment. Especially if a front tooth is affected. However, panic is not necessary, as much is possible in today’s dentistry. In any case, a dentist should be consulted as soon as possible if a tooth is broken off.


A fall, a sports injury or a collision are among the most common causes of a broken tooth. However, it can also be caused by other causes, such as a sharp reduction in gum size, porous teeth, a dead tooth, tooth decay or biting on a hard object while chewing.

A broken tooth is usually caused by external forces such as a fall or collision. Those affected should consult a dentist immediately in order to save the tooth as far as possible. (Picture: dabjola/

First aid, if the whole tooth is broken off

If a tooth is completely broken, quick help is needed. The best way to transport the tooth is to use a specially developed tooth rescue box. This is a special transport medium that contains a nutrient solution in which the tooth is “supplied” for up to 48 hours to make reimplantation possible. If such a box is not available, the broken tooth can be stored alternatively in saliva, saline solution, in cooled, low-fat milk or in alcohol – but under no circumstances in a dry condition. These “replacement liquids” remain an emergency solution – a dentist should be consulted as soon as possible. On weekends or holidays the emergency service is responsible.

It is important that, in preparation for transport, the root surface of the tooth is not touched and the crown is not cleaned, even if it is dirty. In addition, you should never try to replace the tooth yourself.


The breaking off of a tooth is often due to the use of force. Gums, nerves, blood vessels or even the jawbone may be injured. This can lead to considerable pain. It is then best to cool the affected area from the outside. A washcloth filled with ice cubes, an ice pack wrapped in a towel or a cloth dipped in cold water is put on for a short time and possibly renewed several times.

If the teeth are in a bad condition anyway due to caries and periodontosis, they can also break off under normal stress. (Picture: Igor Gromoff/

treatment options

Depending on how much of the tooth is broken off and the extent of the injury, the treatment is designed. Sometimes it is possible to stick it on, in other cases a filling or a treatment of the tooth root can help.

Dental accident at the front teeth

A violent impact or fall can lead to a dental accident in which one or more teeth break off in the front area. This trauma can be associated with a root fracture. This causes the root of the tooth to break. The dentist must decide whether the tooth can still be preserved. In many cases, however, the tooth must be completely removed in such cases.

When “only” a piece of the tooth is broken off

The chances of reattaching the broken part of the tooth are very good. If the tooth nerve is damaged – this can be seen in the blood leaking from the tooth – action must be taken as soon as possible. If this is not the case, the broken piece can often be reattached after a longer period of time. A special adhesive technique is used for gluing the broken piece.

Tooth fillings can also break off – here the complete filling is usually renewed.

If the nerve has been affected.

If the nerve is affected by a broken tooth, the attachment of the book piece becomes somewhat more difficult. This is also usually associated with pain and quick help is needed. It may be necessary to remove the nerve and treat the root. This is followed by the reconstruction of the broken tooth.

When gluing is no longer possible

If the adhesion of a broken tooth is no longer possible, the missing piece can be “rebuilt” with a tooth filling. In the case of larger defects, a partial crown or a complete crown may be the method of choice. The prerequisite for a dental crown is an intact nerve. A root canal treatment may be necessary before this.


So-called veneers are particularly suitable for a broken incisor. These resemble a ceramic shell that is glued to the affected teeth. These are more aesthetic than a filling.

By applying a veneer, a broken tooth can be covered if the fragments cannot be reattached. (Picture: Alexandr Mitiuc/

If treatment is too late

In the case of a broken tooth, the inside of the tooth is exposed. And this is very sensitive. Bacteria could penetrate. This can lead to tooth decay. Food remains do not make the whole thing better – possibly inflammations develop, the tooth and also the gums suffer from it. All this means – if a tooth breaks off – to go to the dentist as fast as possible!

When milk teeth break off

A broken milk tooth in a child is not so rare. Dental accidents occur again and again. Often the front teeth are affected. A completely broken off milk tooth is usually no longer used, but dental treatment should be sought relatively quickly. Here the protection of the permanent teeth against penetrating germs is in the foreground. A dental accident usually causes additional pain. Furthermore, invisible damage to the teeth is possible.

First aid from naturopathy

Arnica is the first choice for first aid from naturopathy. Arnica, in the form of homeopathic globules, is given immediately after the event. The administration is best repeated once or twice. Arnica helps to relieve the pain, has a calming and decongestant effect on the blood. If no arnica is at hand, the Schüssler salt number 3 Ferrum phosphoricum can also be used as an alternative.

St. John’s wort can be used as a homeopathic remedy for a broken tooth with nerve injury to relieve pain. (Picture: monropic/

Hypericum (St. John’s wort) helps with a nerve injury – here also as a homeopathic remedy. Hypericum is usually prescribed whenever nerves are involved. If the gums are affected, calendula (marigold) helps. Once as a homeopathic remedy and in addition to rinsing as a calendula essence. For this purpose, the essence is mixed with boiled water in a ratio of 1:10 and the mouth is rinsed with it.

If a root canal treatment is necessary, arnica and calendula will help with the healing immediately after the treatment. The pharmacy has special complex remedies available which contain plants such as arnica, staphisagria, calendula, echinacea and potassium chloratum. Such droplet compositions can be taken during all oral treatments. These support the healing process and relieve pain. (sw)

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Christina Cherry
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