April 5, 2023

How Long Can a Broken Tooth Go Untreated? Your Newburyport Dentist Answers

Dealing with a broken tooth can be an unpleasant experience, but many people wonder just how long they can wait before seeking treatment. In this article, we, your Newburyport dentists, will explore the risks of leaving a broken tooth untreated and provide valuable insights on the importance of timely dental care.

Causes of Broken Teeth

Accidents and Trauma

Accidents can happen at any time, and oral injuries are no exception. Whether it's a sports-related incident, a fall, or an unexpected impact, these events can result in a broken tooth.

Tooth Decay

Untreated tooth decay can weaken a tooth's structure, making it susceptible to breaking. Regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene practices are crucial in preventing tooth decay and the potential for broken teeth.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

People who grind their teeth during sleep or while stressed might experience broken teeth due to constant pressure and friction.

Risks of Leaving a Broken Tooth Untreated


A broken tooth exposes the inner part of the tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels. Bacteria can enter through the damaged area and cause an infection, potentially leading to an abscess, a painful swelling filled with pus.

Pain and Discomfort

Leaving a broken tooth untreated can cause significant pain and discomfort, especially if the nerve is exposed. Additionally, sharp edges on the broken tooth can irritate your tongue, cheeks, or gums.

Damage to Surrounding Teeth

A broken tooth can affect neighboring teeth, causing additional damage, misalignment, or shifting.

Tooth Loss

If a broken tooth is left untreated for an extended period, the damage may become too severe to repair, leading to tooth extraction.

When to Seek Treatment for a Broken Tooth

The simple answer is: as soon as possible. Regardless of the severity of the break, it's crucial to schedule an appointment with your Newburyport dentist to assess the damage and determine the appropriate course of action.

Minor Breaks

Even minor chips or cracks in a tooth should be evaluated by a dentist. Depending on the extent of the damage, your dentist may recommend dental bonding, a filling, or a veneer.

Moderate Breaks

A moderate break may involve a larger portion of the tooth, possibly reaching the inner layers. Treatment for a moderately broken tooth may include a dental crown or a root canal, depending on the extent of the damage and the health of the tooth's pulp.

Severe Breaks

If the tooth is severely broken or the pulp is exposed, immediate dental care is essential. In some cases, a root canal may be necessary, followed by a dental crown to restore the tooth's function and appearance. In more extreme cases, tooth extraction may be the only viable option, followed by a dental implant or bridge to replace the missing tooth.

Tips for Handling a Broken Tooth

If you've experienced a broken tooth, follow these steps before visiting your dentist:

  1. Rinse your mouth gently with warm water to clean the area.
  2. Apply a cold compress to your face to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
  3. Take over-the-counter pain relievers if necessary, but avoid placing aspirin directly on the damaged tooth or gum.
  4. If possible, save any broken tooth fragments and bring them to your dentist.

Preventing Broken Teeth

While accidents can happen, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of breaking a tooth:

  1. Maintain good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
  2. Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
  3. Wear a mouthguard during sports activities or while sleeping if you grind your teeth.
  4. Avoid biting on hard objects such as ice, hard candies, or non-food items like pens. 5. Address teeth grinding (bruxism) with the help of your dentist.
  5. Consume a balanced diet to maintain strong teeth and overall oral health.

In summary, it's essential to seek treatment for a broken tooth as soon as possible to prevent further complications and maintain your oral health. Your Newburyport dentist is here to help you navigate the best course of action for your specific situation. If you're experiencing a broken tooth, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with our dental practice. We are committed to providing exceptional dental care and helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile.

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