Tooth Broken Below Gum Line – What Are Your Options?

A broken tooth can be a distressing dental issue, but when the break occurs below the gum line, it presents unique challenges. The gum line serves as a protective barrier for the tooth roots and underlying structures, and a fracture beneath it can be more complicated to address. If you find yourself facing a tooth broken below the gum line, it’s essential to understand your options for treatment and restoration. In this article, we explore the available options to address this dental concern and restore your oral health and smile.

Tooth Broken Root Still in Gums

If a tooth is broken, and the root is still in the gums, it is essential to seek immediate dental attention. Leaving a broken tooth root in the gums can lead to various dental issues and potential complications. Here’s what you should do if you find yourself in this situation:

1. Avoid Touching or Disturbing the Broken Tooth: Refrain from touching or attempting to remove the broken tooth root yourself. Manipulating the tooth can cause additional damage to the gums and may lead to infection.

2. Rinse Your Mouth Gently: Rinse your mouth with warm water to keep the area clean. Avoid using hot water or mouthwash, as they can irritate the area.

3. Avoid Chewing on the Affected Side: To prevent further trauma to the broken tooth root and surrounding tissues, avoid chewing on the side where the broken tooth is located.

4. Apply a Cold Compress: If you experience any facial swelling or discomfort, apply a cold compress to the affected area outside the mouth to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.

5. Seek Emergency Dental Care: Contact your dentist or an emergency dental clinic immediately to schedule an emergency appointment. An emergency dentist will evaluate the situation, take X-rays if necessary, and determine the best course of action.

Possible Treatment Options:

The treatment options for a broken tooth root will depend on the extent of the fracture, the position of the root, and the overall condition of the surrounding gums and bone. Here are some potential treatment options:

1. Evaluation by a Dentist: If you suspect that you have a broken tooth below the gum line, the first step is to visit your dentist for a thorough evaluation. The dentist will examine the affected tooth, take X-rays, and assess the extent of the fracture. This evaluation will help determine the appropriate course of action.

2. Extraction: In some cases, if the fracture is severe and the tooth is not salvageable, the dentist may recommend tooth extraction. Tooth extraction is the removal of the damaged tooth from the socket. After extraction, your dentist will discuss tooth replacement options to fill the gap left by the extracted tooth.

3. Crown Lengthening: If a portion of the broken tooth is still visible above the gum line, the dentist may perform a procedure called crown lengthening. This involves removing gum tissue and bone to expose more of the tooth structure, allowing for the placement of a dental crown to restore and protect the remaining tooth.

4. Surgical Removal and Restoration: In certain cases, a surgical procedure may be performed to remove the fractured root below the gum line. This procedure is called a root amputation or hemisection. After removal, the remaining tooth structure can be restored with a dental crown or bridge.

5. Dental Implant: If the broken tooth cannot be saved, your dentist may recommend a dental implant as a long-term replacement option. A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed into the jawbone, serving as an artificial tooth root. Once the implant fuses with the jawbone, a dental crown can be placed on top to provide a natural-looking and functional replacement tooth.

6. Bridge or Partial Denture: If you have multiple adjacent teeth missing or extracted, a dental bridge or partial denture may be recommended. A dental bridge is a restoration that uses adjacent teeth as support to bridge the gap left by the missing tooth. A partial denture is a removable appliance that replaces multiple missing teeth within the same arch.

7. Gum Grafting: In cases where the gum tissue has receded or been damaged due to the broken tooth, a gum grafting procedure may be performed. Gum grafting involves taking tissue from another area of the mouth or using donor tissue to augment the gum tissue around the affected tooth and restore its proper appearance and function.

Can a tooth broken off below the gumline be saved?

In some cases, a tooth broken off below the gum line can be saved, but it largely depends on the extent of the fracture and the overall condition of the tooth and surrounding structures. If the fracture is severe and extends deep into the root, the chances of saving the tooth may be limited. However, if a portion of the broken tooth remains above the gum line and the root is not extensively damaged, there are potential treatment options that a dentist may consider to save the tooth.

Can a dentist Pull a front tooth that is broken off at the gum line?

Yes, a dentist can perform a tooth extraction on a front tooth that is broken off at the gum line. However, extracting a front tooth is typically considered a last resort when other treatment options are not viable or if the tooth is severely damaged and cannot be saved.

Before deciding on tooth extraction, the dentist will thoroughly evaluate the broken tooth, the extent of the fracture, and the surrounding oral structures. They may also take X-rays to assess the root and bone condition. If the tooth is broken too close to the gum line and there is not enough healthy tooth structure left to support a restoration, extraction may be necessary.

Reasons for Extracting a Front Tooth Broken at the Gum Line:

  1. Severe Damage: If the tooth is extensively damaged or fractured below the gum line, it may not be possible to restore or save the tooth.
  2. Infection or Abscess: If the broken tooth is infected or there is an abscess around the root, extracting the tooth can prevent the spread of infection to other areas of the mouth.
  3. Tooth Mobility: If the broken tooth is loose or mobile due to trauma or underlying gum disease, extraction may be necessary to prevent further complications.
  4. Orthodontic Reasons: In some cases, tooth extraction may be part of an orthodontic treatment plan to create space or resolve crowding issues.

Replacing a Front Tooth After Extraction:

After the extraction of a front tooth, it is essential to discuss tooth replacement options with your dentist. Leaving a gap in the front of the mouth can have aesthetic and functional implications. Here are some common tooth replacement options:

  1. Dental Implant: A dental implant is a popular and permanent tooth replacement option. It involves the surgical placement of a titanium post into the jawbone, which serves as an artificial tooth root. Once the implant fuses with the bone, a dental crown can be placed on top to provide a natural-looking and functional replacement tooth.
  2. Dental Bridge: A dental bridge can be used to replace a missing front tooth. It consists of an artificial tooth (pontic) suspended between two dental crowns that are attached to the adjacent teeth.
  3. Removable Denture: In some cases, a removable partial denture may be used to replace a front tooth if implant or bridge placement is not suitable for the patient.

How Long can i leave a broken Tooth in My Mouth?

The length of time you can leave a broken tooth in your mouth depends on several factors, including the extent of the break, the location of the fracture, and the presence of any symptoms or complications. Generally, it is best to seek prompt dental evaluation and treatment for a broken tooth to prevent further damage, infection, or pain. However, the following scenarios may influence how long you can leave a broken tooth in your mouth:

1. Mild Chip or Fracture: If the break is minor and does not cause any pain or sensitivity, you may be able to leave the broken tooth in your mouth for a short period, such as a few days. However, it is still essential to have a dentist examine the tooth as soon as possible to determine if any treatment or restoration is necessary.

2. Sharp Edges or Irritation: If the broken tooth has sharp edges that are causing irritation or injury to your tongue, cheeks, or gums, you should not delay seeking dental attention. Sharp edges can lead to oral discomfort and potential soft tissue damage.

3. Pain or Sensitivity: If the broken tooth is causing pain or sensitivity, it indicates nerve involvement or exposure. In such cases, it is crucial to see a dentist promptly. Delaying treatment can lead to worsening symptoms and potential infection.

4. Visible Infection or Abscess: If you notice signs of infection, such as swelling, pus, or a bad taste in your mouth, it indicates an abscess. An abscess is a serious dental condition that requires immediate attention from a dentist or endodontist (root canal specialist).

5. Extensive Damage or Loss of Tooth Structure: If the break is significant, with a large portion of the tooth missing or below the gum line, immediate dental evaluation and treatment are essential. Severe fractures may not be restorable, and timely decisions are necessary for the best treatment outcome.


A tooth broken below the gum line requires prompt attention and evaluation by a dentist to determine the best course of action. Whether through crown lengthening, dental restorations, extraction, or dental implants, there are viable options available to address the issue and restore your smile’s health and aesthetics. Regular dental check-ups and maintaining good oral hygiene practices are essential in preventing dental issues and catching any problems, including broken teeth, early on. Always consult with your dentist to discuss the most suitable treatment plan for your specific case, ensuring the best possible outcome for your oral health and overall well-being.

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