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Uncomplicated tooth fracture

Summary

An uncomplicated tooth fracture includes any breakage to a tooth or filling where the nerve is not exposed and the tooth can be simply repaired by your dentist.

These can occur due to one or more of the following:

  • Trauma - a blow to the mouth
  • Biting on something hard
  • A weak tooth due to previous dental work
  • Tooth clenching and grinding

If the fracture is only in the enamel of the tooth then often no treatment is required at all unless the tooth is sharp and irritating the tongue or lips or the tooth is sensitive.

If the fracture exposes some dentine then generally a dentist will want to repair the tooth and cover the exposed dentine. The reason for this is that the dentine is made up of tubules and bacteria have been shown to be able to pass down the tubules towards the dental pulp.

If the fracture extends into the pulp of the tooth or under the gum then the fracture is no longer considered uncomplicated but complicated.

Home care advice

An uncomplicated tooth fracture is not going to be considered an emergency by a dental hospital or emergency hub. Therefore the home advise would be as follows:

  • Keep the area as clean as possible - salty mouth rinses, flossing around the area to prevent any food trapping
  • Apply sensitive toothpaste to the fractured area to reduce sensitivity. This may also create a protective layer over the dentine.
  • Use a DIY temporary filling kit to fill in the gap until you can book an appointment
  • If pain worsens then try topical anaesthetics
  • If the pain worsens or the area becomes swollen then see our advice for irreversible pulpitits and acute periapical abscess

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Written by Andrew Bain BDS MJDF (RCS Eng)
Apr 27, 2020