​Dental Injuries: Chipped and Cracked teeth​


It is possible to chip a tooth due to a blow to the face or even because you have bit into something hard. It is also possible to crack a tooth, due to gritting, grinding or chewing down onto something hard. The crack usually goes from below the gum line and extends into the root. Thus the inner tissue and nerves (pulp) of your tooth can get irritated or damaged, causing much discomfort and pain.

Your teeth can be particularly susceptible to chipping and cracking they have already been weakened due to decay and because the enamel (outer surface of your teeth) has started to wear. Chipping or cracking a tooth is different from when your tooth has been completely knocked out or has been badly broken, in which case you must see your dentist immediately.

Chipping a tooth is quite common and can be repaired by a dentist without much difficulty. However you should see your dentist as soon as possible to have your tooth smoothed down or filled, or else you risk getting an infection and further damage to your tooth. The treatment you receive for a cracked tooth is imperative because it will help to relieve pain and also prevent the crack from worsening. ​

If you have chipped or cracked a tooth, there are certain measures you can take at home before visiting your dentist:

  • Take over-the-counter pain reliever medicine if you are experiencing pain in your tooth.

  • Rinse your mouth with salt water.

  • If the chip has caused a sharp or jagged edge in your tooth, you could cut your tongue, the inside of your lip or your cheek. You can prevent this by covering your tooth with a piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum.  

  • Avoid biting down on the broken tooth and only eat soft food if you are hungry.​​

If you have received a blow to the face, or have bitten into something hard, and feel something hard in your mouth, you may have chipped a tooth. Examine your mouth to see if you can see a visible chip in any of your teeth. 

If you experience erratic pain when chewing or biting down onto something, or if your teeth feel extra sensitive to temperature extremes, you could have a crack in one of your teeth. This is less easy to detect on your own, so visiting a dentist if you have any of these symptoms is highly recommended. ​

If you have chipped a tooth, you should not worry. It is usually easy to mend a chipped tooth and it is classified at a non-emergency dental situation. Yet you should visit your dentist as soon as you can in order to fix your tooth to prevent further damage and weakening. If you wait too long, you could risk getting and infection, and in some serious cases you could risk losing your tooth completely. 

A cracked tooth can get worse with time if not tended to. If the crack worsens and extends to below your gum line, the crack will no longer be treatable and your tooth will need to be extracted. It is therefore essential to visit the dentist as soon as you can for an early diagnosis and treatment. ​

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started. 

If you have either chipped a tooth or suspect that you have cracked a tooth, you should avoid delay and visit your dentist as soon as possible. The dentist will examine the area and ask about your medical and dental history. He or she will then recommend a course of action depending on the severity of the problem.​

The Teeth and Skin Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital will be able to detect and successfully treat any dental problems that you may have. Treatment for a chipped or cracked tooth will depend and vary according to the severity of the damage. 

After examination, the doctor will be able to determine whether the chip is minor and has resulted in only a small piece of enamel being broken off, in which case the damage can be repaired simply. In cases where there has been extensive damage, you may undergo a tougher procedure. 

Some of the ways your dentist could repair your chipped tooth or cracked tooth include:​

  • Dental Filling or Bonding: Your dentist may repair a small chip in your tooth with a filling. He or she may also use a procedure called bonding, which uses a tooth-coloured composite resin, if the damage is to a tooth in the front or can be seen when you smile. The dentist is able to use this procedure to make the repair look like a natural tooth.

  • Dental Cap or Crown: If the damage is greater and you have lost a large piece of your tooth, the dentist may grind or file away part of your tooth and cover it with a crown. A crown is a custom-fitted covering (made of gold, porcelain, resin or other materials), that replaces your tooth’s natural crown. 

  • Dental Veneers: A dental veneer is a thin shell of tooth-coloured resin composite material or porcelain that covers the entirety of the tooth with a thicker section in order to replace the chipped portion of the tooth. This option can be suggested when the front tooth has been chipped, as it can make it look natural and healthy again.  

  • Root Canal: If the damage to the tooth is large and extensive, and has caused the pulp to be exposed, the pulp can become infected died, in which case it needs to be extracted.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage​.




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.