How to relieve pain from cracks or


A cracked or broken tooth can cause toothache . A broken tooth enamel can expose the inner pulp of the tooth.

This is where the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue of the tooth meet. If this area becomes inflamed or infected, the pain can be excruciating.

This article looks at the pain of cracked or broken teeth and how to treat it. It also discusses treatment options for painful cracked or broken teeth.

Get Medical Information / Emily Roberts

First aid for a broken tooth

A cracked or broken tooth requires a visit to the dentist. Your dentist will examine the tooth and try to heal it to prevent further damage.

If you feel pain, it is most likely due to the exposure of the dentin layer of the tooth. Dentin is the tissue under the tooth enamel that surrounds the pulp .

To do

If your tooth is broken, cracked, or chipped, you should do the following:

  • Collect all the pieces and show them to the dentist. Your dentist cannot put the parts back. However, they can tell if the piece was tooth enamel or an old filling.
  • Gently bite down on a new piece of gauze if there is bleeding or pain.
  • Call your dentist to make an appointment. Even if the tooth does not hurt, it should be examined as soon as possible. Most dentists have an appointment on their schedule for dental emergencies .

What not to do

While waiting for your visit to the dentist, you should avoid things that can make your pain worse. Stay away from the following:

  • Very hot or cold food or drink : Extreme temperatures can cause pain in cracked or broken teeth.
  • Sugary Foods and Drinks : Sugar can irritate the exposed inner layer of the tooth.
  • Acidic Foods and Drinks : Acids like vinegar, citrus fruits, and tomatoes can irritate a nerve in a tooth.
  • Solid Foods – Biting into nuts, candy, or other solid foods can further damage your tooth. If the tooth is cracked, do not chew it until it has solidified.

These are only temporary measures. Only a dentist or endodontist (specialist in toothache) can repair a damaged dental nerve.


If you have a broken, chipped, or cracked tooth, see your dentist as soon as possible. If you experience bleeding or severe pain in your mouth, gently bite down on the gauze. Try to save the fragments.

While waiting for a meal, eat soft foods that are neither too hot nor too cold. Avoid chewing on the side of the damaged tooth. Also avoid very hot or very cold drinks and sugary or acidic drinks or foods.

Relieve toothache

These temporary remedies may give you some relief until you see your dentist:

  • Use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Advil ( ibuprofen ) or Tylenol ( acetaminophen ). Avoid aspirin, which can slow blood clotting. This can be a problem if you need a root canal .
  • Floss after meals. Remove food debris and plaque between the broken tooth and its neighbors. Plaque is the sticky film that covers your teeth and contains bacteria. Be careful not to over-prick the affected tooth.
  • Use clove oil (eugenol) . You can find clove oil in most health food stores. It is a natural anesthetic that has been used in dentistry for more than a century. Soak a small piece of cotton wool in the oil, then rub it with a cloth to remove the excess. Hold the cotton on the aching tooth for 10 seconds. Avoid swallowing oil.
  • Try an over-the-counter dental anesthetic like Orajel (benzocaine) or Anbesol (lidocaine), which you can find at most drug stores. You can also cover the affected tooth with an over-the-counter temporary filling (Dentemp).
  • Sleep with your head raised . Inflammation of the exposed nerve can cause severe shooting pain. It is usually the most uncomfortable. Keeping your head up can take some of the pressure off.
  • Gargle with warm salt water two to three times a day. Seawater acts as an antiseptic, killing bacteria from the infected area.

Professional treatment

Your dentist will determine the best way to repair your tooth after evaluating the damage. Treatment will depend on several factors:

  • Tooth type (children or adults)
  • Stage of tooth development
  • How a tooth is injured

If the injury to the tooth is not painful, the dentist can fix it like a filling.

For larger tears, a crown , also known as a dental crown, may be required. It is a hollow metal or porcelain tooth that covers a broken or cracked tooth.

A cracked or broken tooth that is causing pain will likely require dental pulp treatment for pain relief.

The pulp of the tooth is the center of the tooth and extends to the tip of the tooth root. Although the pulp is important during the growth and development of a tooth, a tooth can survive without it when fully mature.

Treatment of damage to the pulp of a tooth or nerves is called root canal treatment or endodontic treatment.


There is no doubt that if you have broken or cracked a tooth, you will no longer want to have it. Remember the most common causes and try to avoid them:

  • Chewing and biting on solid foods like nuts and hard candy.
  • Chews on hard objects such as the cap of a pen or pencil
  • Fragile tooth structure caused by root canal therapy
  • Old restorations (such as fillings or crowns) that have begun to separate from the tooth structure
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth (a night watchman can help)
  • Injury to the face and mouth.


A broken, chipped, or cracked tooth should be examined by a dentist as soon as possible. If your tooth injury is painful, your dentist may be able to see you the same day or the next day.

For pain relief while you wait for your dental visit, try an over-the-counter pain reliever, a salt water rinse, or an over-the-counter teething gel. To prevent additional pain, avoid foods and drinks that are too hot, too cold, sweet, or acidic. Try not to chew on this side of your mouth until the tooth is in place.

Treatment of a broken tooth depends on the extent of the damage and the pain. A small fracture can be repaired with a filling, while a larger fracture may require a crown or coping.

If a tooth hurts, you most likely need a root canal. Your dentist will examine your tooth to determine the appropriate treatment.

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