Broken, Cracked or Knocked-out teeth: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Fractured tooth is a common dental problem for many. Although a fractured tooth can be repaired, it is next to impossible for it to completely heal. However, seeking the help of a dentist as soon as possible will prevent further complication. A tooth fracture is painful, but the pain will subside in a few days after treatment.

Teeth are vital for your overall health! Teeth are not just there for biting or chewing, but to enhance your appearance too. Regular dental care goes far in protecting your teeth. There are a number of ways you can prevent tooth fractures, such as maintaining dental hygiene, wearing a mouth-guard if you are playing contact sports or if you grind teeth, and avoiding hard foods.

Each individual tooth features three layers: pulp, dentin and enamel! Each tooth part has its’ specific role. Enamel acts as the protective coat, and when cracked it leaves the teeth vulnerable. The dentine and pulp are also very important parts of the tooth, and when broken the tooth will be at risk of infection. Teeth fractures usually occur due to assaults, trauma, sport activities, falls among others.

Broken Teeth Causes

Generally the teeth are strong! But they tend to break, crack or chip when exposed to stresses and strains. With broken teeth immediate pain isn’t a common symptom. You might experience discomfort when biting or chewing, if the crack has affected the tooth nerve. What causes tooth break, chip or crack?
  • Using your teeth as tools
There are people who use their teeth to open beverage among other things. This is the wrong use of teeth. The teeth are specifically designed for eating, smiling and talking. Using them as bottle openers, scissors, or pliers might cause serious damage to your teeth or jaw.
  • Playing contact sports without mouth-guard
Contact sports can expose your teeth to breaks and cracks. When playing contact sports you are at risk of tripping and collisions. And as a result your teeth may be knocked-out! As a player you should always protect your teeth by wearing a mouth-guard.
  • Chewing hard objects (non-food objects)
Biting or chewing hard objects can crack your teeth. Most of them are non-food objects, but there is also some things we regard as food that can harm your teeth, such as popcorn and ice kernels. Don’t chew or bite non-food objects!
  • Tongue and cheek piercing
Oral jewelry is likely to cause harm to your teeth. This is a foreign metallic object that is being placed in your mouth. Metallic object are very strong, and as the jewelry move in your mouth it can crack or break your teeth.
  • Cavities
Cavity is a common dental disease. Cavity leads to the destruction of both the enamel and dentin. And as the tooth decay develops into a huge cavity, the teeth structure weakens leading to cracks.
  • Falling
Sometimes when you fall, you may end up hitting your face or mouth! We have seen people with missing teeth because they fall and hit their mouth: such accidents are common with drunkards.
  • The Metal Amalgam used to fix cavities
Metal Amalgam is the way to fixing cavities. But what happens if the weak materials are used? Over time Metal Amalgam weakens the teeth, which may result to a teeth breaks and cracks.
  • Bad bite
Taking a huge bite might harm your teeth, because it is very difficult to balance such a bite. The force applied on the teeth won’t be equal. While some teeth will be subjected to lighter force, others will have to endure greater force. The teeth subjected to greater force are at risk of being fractured.

Broken Teeth Symptoms

Is not a must for a broken, cracked or knocked-out tooth to be painful! You may feel the affected part of the tooth with your tongue. Nevertheless, you should not ignore a non-painful fractured tooth as this may bring complications in the future. Not only does a fractured tooth affect your smile, appearance, but also the chewing and biting.

The pain of a fractured tooth might come and go. Sometimes you might experience it only during biting or when exposed to extreme temperatures. Leaving the cracks untreated can great room for food and bacteria, which may lead to tooth decay in the future.

Whether your tooth fracture is a crack, chip, knock-out, or wear and tear, expect a number of signs and symptoms ranging to pain due to extreme temperatures or pain when you bite or chew. Unlike cavity, the pain of a broken or cracked tooth isn’t constant. Other less common symptoms of fractured tooth, includes cuts on the lips and cheeks area, facial swelling, isolated mouth bleeding, and over time the tooth will change in color.

When to Visit a Dentist for Broken Teeth Treatment

If you have a tooth fracture, visit your dentist. In case a permanent tooth is knocked-out, you should seek the dentist help as soon as possible. If you are experiencing persistent bleeding, trouble breathing, facial swelling, severe pain and fever, seek emergency dental care.

Broken Teeth Diagnose

The dentist will carry out evaluation of the events that lead to the fracture. He will also examine the state of your mouth, teeth and face. And carry out a focused examination as he looks for damaged jaw, nerves and salivary ducts as well as missing teeth.

An X-ray will be taken to detect all the tooth injuries. The X-ray will also capture soft tissues, jaw and the teeth structure. The dentist will view it to determine the facture and possible cause. Sometimes one may accidently swallow a knocked-out tooth. In such a case the dentist will take a chest or neck X-ray to find out the location of the missing tooth. The missing tooth might end up in the stomach, throat or lung.

The dentist will describe and grade the tooth fractures to determine how serious the case is.

How to Treat Broken Teeth
  • Self-help tips
How do fix a broken tooth? Rinse the knocked-out tooth immediately without scrubbing it. Use the top of the crown to hold the tooth and moist it with saliva. Also, you can place the tooth back to it socket, until you get to see the doctor.

Many people feel uncomfortable dealing with a broken tooth. If you feel uneasy implanting the knocked-out tooth, kindly place it in milk, saliva or saline, and seek urgent dentist care. You mouth is the best place to store the tooth as the saliva will keep it moist and protect it from bacteria. Don’t store the tooth in water as the tooth will be damaged.

When it comes to a child, the adult should take the responsibility of keeping the tooth in a moist place. Consult your doctor on how to preserve the tooth until you get the dental care required. Alternative, you can store it in milk. If you are uncooperative, the child might end up swallowing it. Thus, you should be extremely cautious!

Rinse your mouth with tap water if the socket in question is bleeding. Place a piece of tissue on the socket to stop the bleeding. For broken tooth preserve the broken piece like discussed above, and avoid eating or drinking anything. Seek the necessary dentist attention.
  • Medical treatment
Treatment for fractured teeth (break, crack or chip) depends on how serious the fracture is. When it comes to crack, the treatment will depend on the size, location and symptoms of the crack. The methods of treatment include;
  • Bonding
Also known as dental filling, is a method of treating chip, break or tooth crack that requires your dentist to fill the chipped tooth part with composite resin. The dentist will have to use tooth-colored resin to restore your overall dental appearance and smile.
  • Extraction
When a tooth is cracked or knocked-out, the tooth structure, nerves and roots may end up damaged. And extracting the tooth may be the best solution
  • Dental crown
A dental crown is porcelain or ceramic prosthetic device used to cap a damaged tooth. The crown covers the damaged tooth and restores it size, shape and strength. Your dentist will removed some enamel from the cracked or broken tooth to create room for the custom dental crown. The good thing is that a dental crown is designed specifically for. The dentist will evaluate your tooth color, size among other tooth characteristics and send the details to the lab for your dental crown to be processed. The process may take a few weeks. But some dentists have the latest technology that enables them to design and developed a crown and fix it on the same day. Once the crown is milled, the dentist will fix it in the damaged tooth. Another advantage of dental crown is that with proper maintenance, it can last forever.
  • Root canal
With extensive break or crack such that the tooth pulp is damaged too, the doctor may recommend root canal treatment. With root canal treatment the damaged pulp will have to be removed to restore the tooth structure, and strengthen the tooth.
  • Tooth Reattachment
Sometimes the chipped pieces can be reattached. Place the pieces of the broken tooth in a cool moist place, such as a glass of milk. In case there is no milk, you can hold the pieces using your gum, and saliva will moist them. Seek the help of your dentist as soon as possible! The dentist may be able to reattach the fragment onto your tooth.
  • No treatment
Some cracks may not affect your smile, appearance or chewing and biting, thus the dentist may recommend leaving the crack untreated; especial if is just a tiny crack in the enamel.

Can the broken tooth heal completely?

A broken bone may heal completely, but when it comes to a broken tooth the outcome is quite different. After treatment some cracks may become more extensive. The progressing crack may result to tooth loss. Some treatments such as dental crown aren’t always a success. Nevertheless, treating the crack helps to relieve the dental pain and reduces the likelihood of future complications. Broken tooth treatment restore the functions of the tooth, and provides years of perfect smile and comfortable biting and chewing.

Complications of a cracked or broken tooth

If a cracked or broken tooth is untreated, may lead to complications, such as infections, cavity, severe dental pain among other dental concerns. Signs and symptoms of dental infection, includes fever, dental pain, sensitivity to extreme temperatures, bad breath, swollen gums and tender glands in the neck. You have to visit your dentist!

Broken Teeth Prevention

No one would intentionally break their teeth. Most tooth cracks and fractures are as a result of accidents or carelessness. And when it comes to accidents there is little you can do to prevent them. For instance a tooth may crack or break after a fall. The way to protecting your teeth from breaks, cracks and chips is wearing a mouth-guard during contact sports, not using your teeth as bottle opener, pliers or scissors, among other prevention measures. Also, if you are likely to grind your teeth while sleeping or stressed, always wear a mouth-guard.


A broken tooth may be noticeable, but cracks can only be noticed through sensitivity when exposed to extreme temperatures or pain when biting or chewing. It is advisable to visit a dentist as soon as possible to get the fractures treated.

A cracked, broken or chipped tooth is a common dental problem that can be treated. There are a number of procedures available to restore the tooth structure, appearance and smile. Immediate dental care helps to save your tooth and prevent complications in future.

But how can you prevent the cracks and breaks in the first place? Not using your teeth as tool, avoiding biting hard objects, wearing mouth-guard when playing contact sport or if you grind your teeth, are some of the prevent measures.