Wisdom teeth are hidden deep in the mouth, but that does not protect them from injury. Over 90% of adults have at least one damaged wisdom tooth. Breaking a wisdom tooth is common, and extraction is a popular treatment.

Does breaking a wisdom tooth always mean its loss? Can you protect your third molars from breaking? Continue reading this article to learn why wisdom teeth break and what treatment options are available.

Why do wisdom teeth break?

Wisdom teeth might seem to be less prone to breaking in the case of a direct facial or jaw, but you can damage them just like any other teeth.

Furthermore, these teeth can even erupt already broken. This usually happens because the space in the mouth needed for the wisdom teeth to grow is occupied by molars. Excessive pressure damages the structure of the newly grown teeth.

Your wisdom teeth may also grow uneven because the molars have left little space for them. This also increases the likelihood that they will wear down and break while chewing solid food. Finally, the location of these teeth makes it difficult to maintain hygiene. This weakens their structure and leads to tooth decay.

Consequences of cracked wisdom tooth

By nature, a broken wisdom tooth causes discomfort. Depending on the intensity of the damage, it can range from tooth sensitivity to excruciating tooth pain radiating across the mouth. The letter happens when the cracks have reached the dental pulp.

Note that you may also feel no pain at all. This is typical of severely broken teeth, where a blood clot cuts off blood flow to the nerves. Without blood supply, a broken tooth will die. Still, there may be excessive pressure on the periodontal membrane located under a cracked tooth. It can cause painful sensations, even if the tooth itself is numb.

A fractured wisdom tooth is open to bacteria. Their proliferation will inevitably lead to a rotten wisdom tooth and its loss. The infection can also spread into the bloodstream and cause inflammation in other parts of the body. In severe cases, tooth infections can be lethal.

Broken wisdom tooth treatment

Make an appointment with dental professionals as soon as possible to avoid the problems mentioned above. If the nerves of your wisdom tooth are still alive and you do not postpone treatment, there is less risk of an infection spreading inside. So you still have a chance to save it.

Dental filling

If there is no drastic damage to the tooth structure, the repair is possible. A doctor can treat a wisdom tooth hole and fractures with a composite filling.

The procedure is similar to treating other teeth with a dental filling. If you experience severe tooth pain during the procedure, your dentist can numb the area with a local anesthetic. A filling treatment can preserve the structure of the tooth and significantly reduce the risk of its decay.

Note, if you are suffering from a misaligned wisdom tooth problem, the filling can wear out rather quickly .

Wisdom tooth extraction

A shattered wisdom tooth is a candidate for extraction. An oral surgeon will perform the tooth removal for you. Choose one of the anesthesia options, including conscious sedation, to reduce pain.

As a rule, the doctor will not remove the entire tooth at once. Your surgeon will first break it into segments and then pull them out.

Make arrangements for transportation home after the procedure. Your medications may continue to work for several hours. Give yourself a chance to rest after the extraction. Prepare some over-the-counter pain medications to reduce discomfort. Switch to a diet of soft foods while your oral cavity heals.

Is a broken wisdom tooth an emergency?

Only a wisdom tooth with minor damage on the surface is not an emergency. You can consult your dentist about such an injury during your regular checkup. For more serious problems, you should make an appointment as soon as possible.

Your tooth may still be saved. Putting off going to the dentist increases the risk of its decay. This can lead to imminent tooth loss.

In addition, infections in your tooth can spread further in your body. They can affect other organs and put your overall health at risk.

How to relieve pain from a broken wisdom tooth?

To minimize your pain, you can wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply cold compresses to the affected area. Maintain gentle pressure while brushing and remove food debris with dental floss and mouthwash. Food debris creates additional pressure on the pulp and increases the pain. Avoid solid and chewy foods, as well as fruits and berries with small seeds. Switch to more soft and liquid foods for the time being. Take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for acute pain.

Why do I not feel any pain with a chipped wisdom tooth?

Minor injuries to the tooth surface usually do not cause pain. However, in the case of severe tooth damage that leads to the death of the nerves, your wisdom tooth will become numb. Thus, if you do not have pain, it means that your tooth is still quite intact after the damage or it is already non-vital. You may be unsure about the condition of your broken tooth. See your doctor immediately to identify the problem.

What are the symptoms of a cracked wisdom tooth infection?

Tooth sensitivity, pain and inflammation of the gums surrounding the tooth are common symptoms. Severe decay is also accompanied by visible dark holes in the tooth. Proliferating bacteria can affect your breathing and cause fever. Do not delay your visit to a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

Can a regular dentist pull a broken wisdom tooth?

As a rule, such dental professionals as oral surgeons remove broken wisdom teeth. Some regular dentists perform a simple extraction with forceps. Yet, it is only possible for teeth that are fully and properly erupted. Wisdom teeth often do not have a proper position because space is limited space. If they are fractured, the removal becomes even more complicated. Surgeons can break them into smaller pieces and perform the extraction without complications.

How much does it cost to remove a broken wisdom tooth?

The price of removing a broken wisdom tooth depends on its condition and your dental insurance. The average price range is $200-$600 for a single broken wisdom tooth. If you want general anesthesia, you will have to pay between $600 and $1100 per tooth.

What treatments for a broken tooth are not recommended in the case of a wisdom tooth?

In this case, many common treatment options that are plausible for other teeth are not effective. These include veneers, crowns and even root canal treatment. Wisdom teeth are rather susceptible to decay and damage. They do not make supporting elements like crowns long-lasting. In turn, RCT weakens their structure in patients even more. The general approach is treating such teeth only with dental fillings whenever possible. Extraction helps avoid unnecessary costs of more expensive and inefficient options.


  1. Wisdom Teeth And Orthodontic Treatment: Should I be worried? - Orthodontics Australia
  2. Management of odontogenic infection of pulpal and periodontal origin - Research Gate
  3. Dental cavities - Medline Plus