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A broken tooth is definitely an unpleasant event at first. Especially when it affects an anterior tooth. However, panic is not necessary, as a lot is possible in today's dentistry. In any case, a dentist should be consulted as soon as possible if the tooth has broken off.
A fall, a sports injury or a collision are among the most common causes of a broken tooth. However, other reasons can also be responsible, such as gums that have dropped a lot, porous teeth, a dead tooth, tooth decay or chewing on a hard object.
First aid if the whole tooth has broken off
If a tooth has broken off completely, 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 “cared for” for up to 48 hours in order to make a reimplantation possible. If such a box is not available, the broken tooth can alternatively be stored in saliva, saline, in chilled, low-fat milk or in alcohol - but never in a dry state. However, these "replacement fluids" remain an emergency solution - a dentist should be consulted as soon as possible. The emergency service is responsible on weekends or public holidays.
It is important that in preparation for transport, the root surface of the tooth is not touched and the tooth crown is not cleaned, even if it is dirty. In addition, no attempt should ever be made to reinsert the tooth yourself.
Often the breaking off of a tooth is due to the impact of violence. Gums, nerves, blood vessels or even the jawbone may be injured. This can cause significant pain. It is best to cool the affected area from the outside. A washcloth filled with ice cubes, an ice pack wrapped in a towel or a towel dipped in cold water is put on for a short time and possibly renewed several times.
Depending on how much of the tooth is broken off and the extent of the injury, the treatment is interpreted. Sometimes gluing is possible, in other cases a filling or treatment of the tooth root can help.
Dental accident on 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. The tooth root breaks. The dentist has to decide whether the tooth can still be preserved. In many cases, however, it must be removed completely in the event of such injuries.
When "only" a part of the tooth has broken off
The chances of reattaching the broken piece of the tooth are very good. If the tooth nerve is damaged - this can be seen from the fact that blood is coming out of the tooth - you must act as soon as possible. If this is not the case, the broken piece can often be reattached even after a long time. A special adhesive technique with the appropriate adhesive is used for gluing.
Tooth fillings can also break off - here the complete filling is usually renewed.
When the nerve was affected
If the nerve is affected by a broken tooth, attaching the book piece becomes a little more difficult. This is usually associated with pain and quick help is needed. The nerve may need to be removed and the root treated. The broken tooth is then built up.
When gluing is no longer possible
If it is no longer possible to glue a broken tooth, the missing piece can be “copied” with a tooth filling. For larger defects, a partial crown or a complete crown may be the method of choice. An intact nerve is a prerequisite for a tooth crown. Root canal treatment may be necessary beforehand.
So-called veneers are particularly suitable for a broken incisor. These resemble a ceramic bowl that is glued to the affected teeth. These are more aesthetic than a filling.
If treatment is too late
If the tooth is broken off, the inside of the tooth is exposed. And this is very sensitive. Bacteria could penetrate. This can lead to tooth decay. Leftovers do not make the whole thing better - there may be inflammation, the tooth and gums suffer. All of this means - if a tooth breaks off - you must go to the dentist as quickly as possible!
When baby teeth break off
A broken milk tooth in a child is not so rare. Dental accidents occur here again and again. The front teeth are often affected. A completely broken milk tooth is usually no longer used, however, dental treatment should be sought relatively quickly. The focus here is on protecting the permanent teeth from penetrating germs. A tooth accident usually causes additional pain. In addition, invisible damage to the bit is possible.
First aid from naturopathy
For first aid from naturopathy, arnica is the first choice. Arnica, in the form of homeopathic globules, is given immediately after the event. It is best to repeat the dose once or twice. Arnica helps against the pain, has a blood-soothing and decongestant effect. If no arnica is at hand, the Schüssler salt number 3 Ferrum phosphoricum also helps as an alternative.
Hypericum (St. John's wort) helps with a nerve injury - also here as a homeopathic remedy. Hypericum is usually prescribed when nerves are involved. If the gums are affected, calendula (marigold) helps. Once as a homeopathic and in addition to rinsing as a calendula essence. For this, the essence is mixed with boiled water in a ratio of 1:10 and the mouth is rinsed with it.
If root canal treatment is necessary, arnica and calendula help with healing immediately after the treatment. The pharmacy has special complex agents, which contain plants such as arnica, staphisagria, calendula, echinacea and potassium chloratum. Such drop compositions can be taken in all treatments in the mouth. These support the healing process and relieve the pain. (sw)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Thomas Weber: Memorix Zahnmedizin, Thieme Verlag, 5th edition, 2017
- Jochen Jackowski, Hajo Peters, Frank Hölzle: Dental surgery, Springer Verlag, 1st edition, 2017
- National Dental Association (KZBV): First aid with tooth rescue box, (available on 09.09.2019), KZBV