How a Broken Tooth is Fixed

How a Broken Tooth is Fixed

Did you know that a cracked or chipped tooth can eventually lead to tooth loss? In fact, an article by Dentistry Today notes that fractured teeth are the third leading cause of tooth loss. Unfortunately, many people are affected by damaged teeth because of the simple fact that teeth are not entirely resistant to damage. Just like you may one day break a bone, you may also break a tooth. 

cracked tooth held together with tape

When you break a bone, you know to visit the doctor so they can assess and treat the break before it gets worse or heals incorrectly. But, what happens when you break a tooth? In these instances, a quick trip to your local dental office is needed. Just as a broken bone needs to be treated by a doctor, a broken tooth needs to be fixed by your dentist. 

General dentists have a number of techniques available to fix broken teeth. However, their treatment recommendations will be based on the location of the broken tooth and the extent of the damage, which can limit your treatment options. Nevertheless, it is still helpful to know some of the most popular ways that dentists fix a broken tooth. Listed below are the top three treatments for fixing a broken tooth: 


Composite bonding, also known as dental bonding or cosmetic bonding, is an affordable and minimally-invasive way to repair minor tooth damage. This technique uses composite resin to fill in damaged areas. Composite resin bonds well with and matches the enamel, making it ideal for a cosmetic repair. However, bonding may not be ideal for certain areas or types of damage. 


Veneers are thin shells that are cemented onto the front surface of teeth. Although many people think of veneers as being used for smile makeovers, they can also be used to repair individual teeth. Veneers are ideal for repairing cracks or chips that are on the front surface of teeth that are visible when you smile. However, they can only be applied if there is enough natural tooth structure, so they may not work well for significantly damaged teeth. They are also used predominantly towards the front of the mouth. 

Dental crown being used to restore a severely damaged tooth


Crowns are placed over the entire broken tooth to act as a protective cap. Because of this, they are often recommended in cases where the damage is severe, has eliminated much of the natural tooth structure, or has reached the pulp layer. In damage has reached the pulp layer, a root canal may also be needed to remove any bacteria to prevent a pulp infection. If a significant amount of the natural tooth structure has been lost, the tooth may need to be built up before a dental crown can be safely placed. 

As you can see, there are a few different options available to you if you have a broken tooth. These options are intended to fix damaged teeth using different methods, and some methods may work better than others to fix your broken tooth. This is why scheduling a consultation with your local dental office is important. 

Dr. Michael C. Shuck received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the Medical College of Virginia, Cum Laude. He takes part in many volunteer outreach events, including Virginia’s Mission of Mercy project, Virginia Special Olympics, Give Kids a Smile, and the Jamaica Project. Dr. Shuck also is a regular volunteer at Williamsburg’s Olde Towne Medical Center. He actively participates with Virginia’s Donated Dental Service. Dr. Shuck has been a practicing dentist in the Williamsburg, Virginia area since 2007.