How to Deal With a Broken Tooth Until You Can See an Emergency Dentist?

A broken tooth can be a distressing experience, causing pain and discomfort. Knowing how to deal with a broken tooth until you can see an emergency dentist can make a huge difference in managing pain, preventing further damage, and ensuring proper dental care. 

Let us explore the steps and strategies to handle a broken tooth effectively, ensuring you can smile confidently again soon.

Understanding a Broken Tooth 

A broken tooth occurs when a tooth fractures or chips due to different reasons. The extent of a broken tooth can vary from a minor chip to a more significant fracture. Below are common causes and types of broken teeth:

  • Trauma: Accidents or Mouth injuries can cause teeth to break or chip.
  • Biting on Hard Objects: Chewing on hard substances like ice, pens, or unpopped popcorn kernels can lead to tooth fractures.
  • Tooth Decay: Cavities weaken teeth, making them more susceptible to breaking or chipping.
  • Old Dental Work: Aging dental restorations such as fillings or dental crowns may crack or break over time, affecting the underlying tooth structure.

Types of Broken Teeth and Their Management: 

Here are various types of broken teeth and tips to manage them.

Minor Chips: 

Small chips may not always cause immediate pain but should still be evaluated by a dentist. Don’t chew on the side of the mouth with the chipped tooth.

Cracked Tooth: 

Rinse your mouth with warm water, and if possible, cover the cracked area with dental wax or sugarless gum to prevent sharp edges from cutting the tongue or cheeks.

Severe Fractures: 

If a large piece of the tooth breaks off, keep the fragment moist in milk or saliva and bring it along to the dentist. Avoid touching the root of the tooth.

Split Tooth: 

If a tooth is vertically split into two segments, especially involving the root, it requires immediate dental attention. The available treatment options include root canal therapy or  tooth extraction, which are determined based on the severity of the split.

Vertical Root Fracture: 

A fracture that initiates in the tooth’s root and extends upwards toward the chewing surface. Treatment choices may involve root canal therapy or extraction, determined by the fracture’s extent.

Craze Lines: 

Craze Lines are surface cracks present on the enamel layer without penetrating deeper tooth layers. Mostly cosmetic, but regular dental check-ups are advised to track any developments.

Avulsed Tooth: 

A tooth that has been entirely knocked out of its socket requires immediate action. Keep the tooth wet by placing it in milk or saliva, and make sure to seek emergency dental care within 30 minutes.

Managing a Broken Tooth Before Your Dental Appointment

Follow the steps given below to manage it before your appointment with the dentist.

Stay Calm and Assess the Situation 

Keeping a composed mindset is essential when dealing with a broken tooth. Take a moment to evaluate the severity of the break to determine the necessary steps. Minor chips may not cause much discomfort, but larger breaks can lead to pain and bleeding.

Rinse Your Mouth Carefully 

Use warm water to rinse your mouth and clean the area around the broken tooth. Avoid using water that is too hot or too cold, as extreme temperatures can increase sensitivity. Be cautious not to swallow any broken tooth fragments. If possible, try to save the pieces to show your dentist.

Manage Bleeding with Gentle Pressure 

If there is bleeding, gently apply pressure to the affected area with the help of a clean gauze pad or cloth. This helps to control bleeding and reduce any associated discomfort. Don’t use tissue or paper towels as they leave behind fibers.

Alleviate Swelling and Pain 

To ease pain and reduce swelling, place a cold compress on the outside of your cheek near the broken tooth. Wrap an ice pack in a cloth and apply it for 15-20 minute intervals. Take breaks between applications to prevent skin irritation.

Managing Pain 

You can find relief for toothaches by using over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the packaging correctly, and do not apply these medications directly to the broken tooth to prevent any irritation.

Protecting the Broken Tooth 

To prevent further damage, avoid chewing on the side of the broken tooth. Stick to soft foods and avoid foods or drinks that are extremely hot or cold. If possible, use dental wax or sugarless gum to cover the broken tooth. This step helps protect the tooth and reduces sensitivity.

Using Temporary Dental Cement 

You can purchase temporary dental cement at most drugstores. Applying a small amount to the broken tooth can help keep loose pieces in place until you see a dentist. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package and see this as a short-term solution until you receive professional dental care.

When to Seek Immediate Dental Care: 

While temporary measures can help manage a broken tooth, it’s crucial to seek prompt dental attention. Contact an emergency dentist if you experience:

  • Severe pain or continuous throbbing
  • Excessive bleeding that doesn’t stop
  • Signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, or fever
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing due to the broken tooth


Still wondering How to Deal With a Broken Tooth? Dealing with a broken tooth requires quick action and proper care to minimize pain and prevent complications. Follow these steps and remedies until you can see an emergency dentist for professional evaluation and treatment. Early intervention ensures the best outcomes for your dental health and overall well-being.

If you’re experiencing a dental emergency don’t wait. Contact First Class Smiles in Des Plaines, IL, today! New patients can call us at (847) 264-4152, while all other callers can reach us at (847) 824-3536. Book your appointment online now to receive expert care and restore your smile’s health.


How long can a broken tooth wait before seeing a dentist? 

It’s crucial to see a dentist as soon as possible after breaking a tooth. Waiting too long can increase the risk of infection or further damage. Aim to get professional dental care within a few days at most.

Can I eat with a broken tooth? 

It is recommended to refrain from chewing on the side of the mouth with the broken tooth to prevent additional damage. Stick to eating soft foods and avoid hard, sticky, or crunchy items until you can receive proper treatment from a dentist.

What if I accidentally swallow a broken tooth fragment? 

Swallowing a small tooth fragment is usually not harmful and passes through the digestive system without issues. However, if a large piece is swallowed or if you experience discomfort, contact a healthcare professional for guidance.