Comprehensive Guide to Managing a Broken Tooth at the Gum Line (2023)

Symptoms of a Tooth Broken at the Gum Line

A tooth broken at the gum line can result in noticeable fractures or a missing portion. Even if not immediately visible, discomfort ranging from sensitivity to constant pain is common. Bleeding and swelling may occur, particularly when root fragments remain. Tooth discoloration can also develop. Surprisingly, no pain might indicate nerve damage, emphasizing the need for prompt attention.

Treatment Options for a Broken Tooth with Root Still in Gums

1. Tooth Fragment Reattachment

If the broken piece is available, reattachment is possible using dental adhesive. The dentist cleans and secures the pieces, shaping and polishing the restored portion. A dental crown may be recommended for additional protection.

2. Tooth Repositioning

For teeth pushed out of their original position (tooth extrusion), repositioning is crucial. Stabilization with a dental splint or wire aids proper healing.

3. Root Canal Treatment

This procedure preserves the tooth structure by cleaning the pulp chamber and removing the nerve. A dental filling and crown follow, ensuring the tooth's strength and preventing infection.

4. Dental Onlays and Crowns

Crowns restore strength, shape, and size after root canal treatment. Onlays, covering a larger portion, are preferred for less extensive damage. Various materials, including ceramic and gold, offer customization.

5. Tooth Extraction

Extensive damage may necessitate extraction, particularly for non-restorable conditions. The dentist may need to make incisions and split the tooth into smaller pieces for proper removal.

Causes and Prevention of a Broken Tooth at the Gum Line

Physical trauma and enamel decay are primary culprits. Biting solid objects or experiencing facial blows can lead to fractures. Enamel decay, exacerbated by poor dental hygiene and a diet rich in acidic foods, weakens overall tooth structure. Preventive measures include regular dental check-ups, prompt address of dental issues, and reducing sweet and acidic food intake. Mouthguards are recommended for contact sports and bruxism.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I Leave the Root of a Broken Tooth Below the Gum Line?

Leaving the root is not advised due to hygiene challenges. Infection risks spreading, potentially damaging the jawbone and affecting other body parts.

2. Why is My Gum Growing Over a Broken Tooth?

"Gum overgrowth," or epulis, is the body's response to heal a fractured tooth. Timely dental treatment is crucial to prevent uncontrollable growth and associated discomfort.

3. How to Remove a Broken Tooth at the Gum Line at Home?

Attempting self-removal is discouraged. Professional examination and treatment are essential to prevent further damage and infection.


  • Cawson RA, Odell EW (2002). Cawson's essentials of oral pathology and oral medicine (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. pp. 275–278. ISBN 978-0443071065.
  • Fedorowicz, Z., Carter, B., de Souza, R. F., Chaves, C. A., Nasser, M., & Sequeira-Byron, P. (2012). Single crowns versus conventional fillings for the restoration of root-filled teeth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 5.

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