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A cracked tooth can be a painful experience. Despite the strength of healthy tooth enamel, you can fracture your teeth in various ways, such as a blow to the face when playing contact sports, a weakened tooth from a large filling, or eating hard, crunchy foods.

A cracked tooth can range from a minor inconvenience to a dental emergency, depending on the severity of the break. Cracks that are dental emergencies require immediate attention to avoid serious complications.

Learn how to tell when a cracked tooth is a dental emergency and what to do if you suffer a cracked tooth.

What Should I Do If I Crack My Tooth?

If you crack your tooth, you can take the following steps to improve the outcome and lessen your pain.

  • First, rinse your mouth with a warm saline solution to clean the area.
  • Apply sterile gauze to stop any bleeding. Once the bleeding stops, use a cold compress to reduce inflammation.
  • Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to evaluate your injury and determine a treatment plan.

Signs Your Cracked Tooth is a Dental Emergency

Although cracked teeth range in severity, certain cracks or breaks are considered dental emergencies and must be treated immediately. The following signs may indicate that your cracked tooth is a dental emergency:


In most cases, bleeding that accompanies a broken tooth comes from a cut gum. However, if the bleeding comes from inside the tooth, you may have damaged the tooth’s pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves.

Untreated gum or pulp damage can lead to gum infection, pulp necrosis, or tooth loss, so see your dentist immediately if you have bleeding after a tooth injury.

Severe Pain When Chewing

If you suffer from severe or debilitating pain when biting after cracking your tooth, visit your dentist immediately. Severe pain when biting can signify pulp or nerve damage and must be treated promptly to avoid further complications.

Severe Sensitivity

When a cracked tooth exposes the root, you may experience sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. While mild sensitivity may not indicate a dental emergency, intense sensations can mean you’ve damaged your tooth’s nerves, dentin, or root.

If the sensitivity lasts more than a few seconds after the tooth is exposed to the hot or cold substance, it can indicate a more serious structural issue for which you should seek treatment as soon as possible.

Swollen Gums

If swollen gums accompany your cracked tooth, do not wait to receive emergency dental treatment. Swollen gums are a sign of infection, leading to tooth loss and life-threatening complications if left untreated.

Severe Toothache

While mild to moderate pain or discomfort accompanies most cracked teeth, a throbbing pain that does not subside is a sign of an exposed root, pulp, or nerves. If you are experiencing this type of pain, you must receive treatment quickly to address the pain and prevent infection.

Treat Your Cracked Tooth With Steger Smiles

A severely cracked tooth is usually considered a dental emergency. Contact Steger Smiles immediately after you suffer an injury to your tooth due to an accident, sports injury, or another incident that causes your tooth to break. We will see you as soon as possible to evaluate your tooth’s condition and determine a course of treatment.

Call us at (708) 754-8090 to schedule an appointment to have your tooth evaluated.

Be proud of your smile.