Broken wisdom tooth


A wisdom tooth can easily break off while eating or as a result of an accident, especially if it has already been damaged by caries.
A tooth fracture is when the tooth breaks due to external influences or splinters in one place. Often the back part of the wisdom tooth breaks off. In addition, the entire tooth crown may have broken off.

A distinction is made between tooth crown and tooth root fractures. Then a distinction is made between the pure enamel fracture and the enamel-dentin fracture, in which a nerve canal can be opened. As the tooth nerve is then no longer adequately protected, toothache can occur.

These are the immediate measures

If the wisdom tooth has broken off, you should first stay calm and see where the broken piece is and how much of the tooth has broken off.
If you have a tooth rescue box at hand, you can put the broken piece in, otherwise you can store the piece in any container filled with cool UHT milk. The broken piece should be brought to the dentist for later clarification and preferably not be dried out.

If the wisdom tooth is so badly damaged and broken off deeply that it is bleeding, a swab made of gauze or a tissue handkerchief will help. Paper handkerchiefs are not very suitable because saliva can soften and tear them. They then do not offer good wound compression. In addition, you should be careful not to injure your tongue or cheek, as the tooth can be very sharp and pointed due to the break. You should then visit a dentist for further treatment.

If the wisdom tooth breaks off on the weekend or on public holidays, one should go to an emergency dental service or visit the dental clinic.

You can also find out more at: Broken tooth- what to do?


Tooth fractures are often caused by external causes. A wisdom tooth usually fractures when biting and chewing. A firm bite on hard pieces of food, such as fruit kernels and nutshells, can trigger the fracture.
In addition, an accident, for example during sports or a fall, can be the cause of the broken tooth. The break occurs as a result of an impact or strong impact on the tooth and jawbone.

Wisdom tooth broken off due to tooth decay

If the wisdom tooth is damaged by caries, the enamel structure is no longer intact and the tooth becomes unstable. Most of the time, caries has spread undetected below the cusps of the teeth and has already attacked the dentin. The tooth crown is then no longer stable and as resistant as before and can easily break off as there is no longer any hard tooth substance.

Read more about this: Caries on the wisdom tooth


Those affected often notice themselves when the wisdom tooth breaks off, for example through a strong cracking that can be heard and felt.
If only a small part of the tooth breaks off, those affected initially feel no pain. However, if the nerve canal is opened by the fracture, pain often occurs directly. In any case, you should visit a dentist. The dentist will first check the wisdom tooth and, if necessary, take an X-ray to determine how far the fracture extends and to be able to plan further therapy.

Concomitant symptoms

In addition to the broken wisdom tooth, damage to the gums may also have occurred, as at the moment of the break there was also strong pressure on the surrounding gums or hard pieces of food could have caused injuries.

In the event of an accident or fall, you should also have the skull bones examined for further fractures. Other structures on the head may also have been injured. Sharp areas on the tooth can cause cuts in the tongue and cheek.

Pain in the broken wisdom tooth

Pain in a broken wisdom tooth depends on how much of the tooth has broken off and how deep the break point is. A distinction is made between pure enamel fractures, which are usually not painful, and enamel-dentine fractures, which can be painful, especially if the nerve canal has been opened by the break and the tooth nerve is no longer protected.
In addition, pain can occur in the surrounding gums, as they could have been injured.

Read also below: What to do against a toothache?

Broken wisdom tooth without pain

If only a small part of the wisdom tooth breaks off, there is usually no pain. Those affected then only notice a different tooth shape and sharp edges at the break point.

Broken wisdom tooth becomes infected

A broken wisdom tooth can become infected without treatment by a dentist. As a result of the break, the tooth crown is no longer intact and caries can develop more quickly; after the caries has spread, the tooth nerve can become inflamed. If the tooth nerve is no longer protected after the break, bacteria can penetrate the nerve canal and penetrate via the tooth root into the jawbone and trigger an inflammation there.

Find out more about our topic: Inflammation under the tooth crown


After the dentist has assessed the fracture, the therapy is planned; if necessary, an X-ray of the tooth is made in order to assess the fracture site precisely and to rule out damage to the surrounding bone.

  • If possible, the dentist will rebuild the tooth with filling material and then restore it with an artificial crown to protect it from another fracture.
  • If the nerve canal has been opened, a previous root canal treatment would be necessary.
  • In the case of deeper fractures, the removal of the broken wisdom tooth makes sense.

That could also be of interest to you:

  • Tooth filling
  • Root canal treatment


In the case of small fractures on the wisdom tooth, these are often repairable and no further problems with the tooth are to be expected. In the case of larger fractures, removal of the tooth should be considered, since root canal treatment is more difficult there and a complex structure could have a poor prognosis. After the wisdom teeth have been removed, there are often no further symptoms.

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