Tooth Fracture

By | June 10, 2022

A tooth fracture is when the tooth suffers a splintering or fracture. This is caused by external influences, such as accidents during sports and leisure activities, but also by biting too hard. According to statistics, children and adolescents are affected more often than adults.

What is a tooth fracture?

A tooth fracture is usually referred to when the tooth breaks due to external influences. This usually happens as a result of accidents in leisure time or during sports, but also through blows to the jaw area and biting too hard – for example on a hard object. For meanings of aids, please visit

In the case of a tooth fracture, a distinction is made between different types of fracture: First of all, between the two types of tooth crown and tooth root fractures. In the former, a further distinction is made, namely between a pure fracture of the tooth enamel (called enamel-dentin fracture) or between an enamel-dentin fracture that exposes the nerve canal.

The latter type of fracture is considered one of the most painful tooth fractures, since the nerve is no longer adequately protected here and can become irritated and irritated.


In the most common cases, the fracture of the tooth substance is caused by external influences. The best examples of this are accidents that happen during sports, while romping around (in children and young people) or through accidents with a bicycle or car.

In most cases, the fracture of the tooth occurs when the substance of the tooth is so heavily loaded that it breaks due to a fall, an impact or a powerful impact on the jaw and tooth area (e.g. a blow). Of course, this can also happen if you bite too hard without thinking. Common reasons for a tooth fracture that occurs when biting and chewing is a forceful bite on hard objects such as bones, nut and shellfish shells, or hard fruit pits.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Problems caused by a tooth fracture express themselves depending on the location and course of the fracture. If the damage is below the gums, it is initially not visible to outsiders. Superficial fractures initially do not cause any significant suffering.

Sufferers may notice an overwork stimulus when chewing solid food. Cracks through the dentin, on the other hand, already cause considerable pain to patients. The underlying nerve canal is exposed through the fracture. Enamel cracks are symptomatically inconspicuous and do not require therapy.

They extend to the surface of the dentin, where the propagation of damage usually stops. When the tooth cusp is fractured, people develop a pronounced sensitivity to hot, sweet or cold foods. The gap runs through enamel and dentin. In some cases, this even extends into the dental pulp (dental pulp).

Fractures only run through enamel and dentin and are considered difficult to diagnose. Those affected experience considerable pain when eating because of the opposite movement of the separated tooth parts. The opening also offers germs from the oral cavity a favorable opportunity to penetrate the inside of the tooth. As a consequence, there is a risk of inflammation of the nerve tissue and the root of the tooth.

In the long term, the tooth breaks due to the mechanical stress. Without a crown or filling to stabilize them, patients face complete tooth loss. Splinters left over from the detached fragment in the gums provoke inflammation of the gums with associated bleeding. Root fractures often run through the entire tooth structure.

Longitudinal fractures of the root show a partial tear in the root canal wall, which grows steadily with permanent use of the injured tooth. Isolated root fractures are not necessarily associated with permanent symptoms immediately after they occur. Symptoms such as nerve pain or the death of the tooth are sometimes delayed for up to several months.

Diagnosis & History

In most cases, the person affected immediately notices the fracture of the tooth themselves. Often directly after it has happened: for example through a strong cracking sound, which the person concerned can hear and feel.

Often, in the first moment of the break, not only the tooth itself is stressed, but also the surrounding gums are irritated – for example due to the strong pressure that is exerted on them. If only part of the tooth crown breaks off, most patients do not feel any pain at first, but are only irritated by the new shape of the tooth. However, this can have sharp edges, which is why you should always be careful if it breaks.

A tooth fracture can result in lacerations in the tongue or the insides of the cheeks. If the nerve canal is affected, pain and hypersensitivity can occur. This is not the only reason why you should see a dentist immediately if you have a tooth fracture.


A tooth fracture can result in the loss of the tooth. This can lead to further complications, especially in children and adolescents whose jaws are not yet fully grown. The premature loss of a tooth can then cause the misalignment of other teeth or a deformation of the jaw.

However, complications can also result from injury to the tooth itself, especially if these are also associated with lacerations on the face or lips. If the injuries are not treated in a timely or professional manner, the risk of inflammation, swelling and abscesses increases. Inflammation can lead to severe damage and loss of not only the tooth, but also the tissues surrounding the tooth, such as alveolar bone and soft tissue.

In addition, such inflammations can spread and affect neighboring teeth, the gums or the oral mucosa. In the worst case, sepsis develops. Depending on the course of the injury, tetanus can also threaten if the patient has not been vaccinated against tetanus and the vaccination was not made up for in a timely manner.

In addition, tooth fractures are very often accompanied by injuries to the skull. If the patient has fallen on their head, there is a risk of concussion or more serious consequences such as traumatic brain injury. In addition, when a front tooth is lost or damaged, the patients often suffer very severely from the aesthetic impairment, since a broken tooth is perceived as disfiguring. This applies all the more if the blemish cannot be remedied immediately, for example due to inflammation.

When should you go to the doctor?

If a tooth splits off or is lost in the facial area after a fall, accident or physical violence, you need to see a doctor. Although initially there are no symptoms, severe pain or other secondary diseases can occur as the disease progresses. In some cases, patients experience unbearable pain within a few hours. For this reason, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible as soon as the first irregularities in the area of ​​the teeth appear.

A bloody taste in the mouth, swelling or problems with eating require a medical examination. If there are any abnormalities or discrepancies in the gums, it is also advisable to clarify the symptoms. In some cases, during the initiating event, fragments of the teeth have entered the gums and can cause impairments there.

Hypersensitivity to various stimuli such as cold or heat is to be understood as a warning signal from the organism. If these changes occur suddenly, a doctor should be consulted. If there are any peculiarities when speaking, reddening of the mouth or irregularities in existing dentures or braces, a doctor should be consulted. A doctor is also required for headaches, swelling or deformities of the face and changes in the complexion of the face.

Treatment & Therapy

The dentist will first examine the fracture extensively and decide whether the nerve is affected and whether the tooth can be restored with a reconstruction.

If possible, the dentist will try to restore the tooth with filling materials. Only when more than 70 percent of the tooth is destroyed or the tooth has split or broken down into the canal does one have to think about further reconstruction measures.

These could consist of a new and artificial tooth crown (denture), but in very unfavorable cases also that the broken tooth has to be removed. However, this is only rarely the case – for example when the faction is very difficult and cannot be dealt with.


A tooth fracture can be prevented to a limited extent by trying to keep the tooth substance strong – through appropriate preventive measures at the dentist and through toothpastes and more, which strengthen the tooth substance. In risky sports, you should also wear mouth and gum protection. However, a tooth fracture cannot always be avoided. Therefore, it is important that you – if you have one – see a dentist as soon as possible.


The aftercare of the tooth fracture is closely related to its cause. It makes a difference whether it is an external event such as a sports accident or a behavioral fracture caused, for example, by chronic teeth grinding. If the cause is related to the behavior of the patient, this should be stopped consistently. Teeth grinding can be positively influenced by bite splints or psychotherapy.

In addition, the aftercare also depends on the type of treatment by the dentist. Implants in particular must not be fully loaded during the healing phase. This is achieved through softer food or a tendency to prefer chewing on the other side of the teeth. The duration of the healing phase is determined by the dentist.

The patient’s cooperation is essential here, also with regard to a check-up in the dental practice. If dentures are necessary after a tooth fracture, consistent oral hygiene is necessary. This is especially true after an implant has been placed to avoid peri-implantitis, the bacterial inflammation around the implantation site.

In this context, professional tooth cleaning removes hard and soft plaque and also reaches places that the toothbrush has difficulty reaching. The dentist also offers a special implant cleaning service. After the tooth fracture, the patient can also achieve relief for the affected tooth by crushing food into bite-sized pieces.

You can do that yourself

In the case of a tooth fracture, the options for self-help are not aimed at changing the appearance of the teeth. This can only be improved by doctors. It should be checked whether the causes of the tooth fracture can be changed. For example, the practice of sports that lead to violence in the facial area can be reduced. Wearing protective clothing should be optimized as an alternative. This minimizes the risk of further fractures.

At the same time, you should check your own behavior in everyday life. If the tooth fracture occurred as a result of an interpersonal physical argument, one’s own behavior and reaction patterns should be changed. In this way, future provocations with possible violent effects can also be reduced to a minimum.

Daily dental care is an essential part of self-help. Daily tooth cleaning and cleaning the spaces between the teeth have a significant impact on the oral flora. This prevents damage to the enamel and teeth.

When eating, it is important to ensure that the food is adapted to the possibilities of the organism. Food that is too large or too solid can damage teeth. You should also avoid wearing jewelry in the mouth area. The materials of rings or plugs in the cheek or tongue can cause irreversible problems in the teeth and cause fractures.

Tooth Fracture