Broken tooth – causes, treatment & help

Broken tooth

On broken tooth arises from external action on the tooth structure, which breaks as a result. In many cases, a dentist can treat such tooth fractures by reconstructing the tooth. Treatment varies depending on the type of fracture.

Table of Contents

What is a broken tooth?

A broken tooth is a fracture, chipping, splitting or cracking of a tooth (infracture). A knock, blow, bite on something hard, accident or deliberate pressure on the tooth by instruments during tooth extraction are triggers of the so-called tooth fracture.

Broken teeth occur both with milk teeth and with permanent teeth. The affected person perceives the tooth fracture due to pain or injuries in the oral cavity. Injuries result from the sharp edges of the broken tooth.

If a tooth fracture is suspected, consultation with a dentist is necessary. He will decide if he can reconstruct the tooth or if he has to extract and replace it. Broken teeth are statistically more common in children and adolescents than in adults.


A broken tooth occurs when the external impact on the tooth substance is so high that it no longer withstands and breaks. This is the case with external violence. These are bumps or blows.

Accidents, such as falling on the mouth, are also a cause. Children and adolescents are particularly affected because they are on the move a lot. Accidents that can result in a tooth fracture also occur while exercising or by bike and car.

Food can also cause a tooth fracture if it contains hard components such as fruit kernels, bones or nutshells. When extracting a tooth, the dentist may deliberately cause a tooth fracture so that it can extract the tooth better. Already treated teeth break more easily than healthy ones.

Since the natural dentine is harder than filler material, teeth that are largely filled with filler material due to caries break more easily. Root-treated teeth are also more prone to fracture because they remove nerve branches and blood vessels from the tooth. In the long run, this leads to a reduced supply of the tooth and thus to increased porosity.

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Diseases with this symptom

diagnosis & course

The affected person usually notices the broken tooth immediately after the fracture has occurred. A noticeable and audible crack often accompanies the moment of breaking off. The person affected also feels painful pressure in the jaw and tooth area, which triggers the force of the violent action.

Depending on how pronounced the tooth fracture is, there is no, slight or severe pain. If only part of the enamel has broken off, the person concerned first notices the new shape of the tooth. It can have sharp edges and lead to injuries in the mouth. In the case of deeper fractures, the nerve channel of the tooth nerve is exposed. This causes considerable pain due to the irritation of the nerve.


A broken tooth is usually harmless. However, complications can occur. The most common complication is probably the swallowing of the broken tooth or broken part of the tooth. In this context, however, it must be noted that swallowing the broken tooth does not normally cause any complaints. Only aspirating the broken tooth can lead to threatening complications.

During the aspiration, the broken part of the tooth is accidentally inhaled, i.e. H. it gets into the trachea. As a reflex, there is usually a cough. The aim of this cough is to get the swallowed part of the broken tooth out of the trachea. If this does not work, it is advisable to see a doctor, since aspirating the tooth can have serious consequences, including pneumonia. However, this is extremely rare. A much more common complication is exposing the inside of the tooth.

This makes the tooth very easy to attack. Caries can develop when bacteria enter the exposed interior of the tooth. In the worst case, the tooth root or nerve becomes inflamed. This can lead to nerve death, making the tooth unlikely to be preserved. For this reason, it makes sense and is important to see a dentist when breaking a tooth. Complications of this kind can be identified or excluded by an examination by the dentist.

When to go to the doctor?

Consultation of a dentist is generally recommended for a broken tooth. A specialist should check whether there are exposed tooth necks, open nerve endings or splinters that have been pushed into the gum pockets. The risk of inflammation increases if there is no control. There may be other problems with the remaining tooth. It may no longer be adequately protected.

This makes him more susceptible to germs, viruses or bacteria that are in the affected person’s mouth and throat. This increases the risk of further dental diseases such as tooth decay or periodontitis. The broken tooth may expose the tooth root or tooth nerve. Both are painful for the patient and can lead to inflammation with pus formation beyond the affected tooth. The risk that the remaining tooth nerve will die increases.

This usually means that the tooth can no longer be used for tooth restoration later on. It must be completely removed in a surgical procedure. A broken tooth can cause the tooth holder to lose its strength. Depending on the structure of the jawbones and teeth, the surrounding teeth may loosen. The gums regress. This can lead to further tooth loss or sensitive teeth.

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Christina Cherry
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