Broken Tooth

Updated on August 30, 2010
B.C. asks from Culver, OR
6 answers

My 12 year old boy lost the top half of his tooth (molar). He had mentioned a day or two ago that only half of his tooth was loose, it didn't occur to me then that he was talking about the top half rather than the right or left side. I suggested that he wiggle it! Well while eating lunch today, the top half just popped off. The whole top half, the bottom of the tooth is still embedded in his gum (a little below the gum line). I know I can call his dentist tomorrow (Monday), and in fact he has an appointment with the dentist on Sept 13, but right now that seems like a long time. Has anyone heard of this happening before? Will they have to surgically remove the bottom half of the tooth? Or will it come out naturally when his adult tooth is ready to grow in?

FYI: My son is losing teeth at a slower pace than the average, this will be his first molar he's lost. Six moths ago at his last dentist appointment he had no issues not even a single cavity, and he has had no recent facial trauma that could account for the broken tooth.

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So What Happened?

I called the Dentist, he said if it wasn't hurting him then we could wait until my son's scheduled appointment. It wasn't hurting, so we waited. The tooth did break, but only a sliver was left behind, which was easily removed by the Dentist. The look of the molar did surprise me, I guess I though it would look a little more like other teeth he has lost. Thanks for the great responses, they helped put my mind at ease (especially those that described what a molar looks like when it comes out).

More Answers


answers from Pocatello on

Well what it sounds like is the baby tooth fell out and you can see the top of the new permanent tooth coming through. Remember baby teeth are short and little so it could look like only half of his tooth when really it was the whole baby tooth. Because teeth are somewhat hallow on the inside for the roots if it broke clear in half you would be able to see inside the part that's still in his mouth and it would probably be causing a lot of pain for him to have it exposed like that. Look again and see if it just looks like maybe the top of a permanent tooth.



answers from Redding on

Is he in pain? He could have a nerve exposed that really, really hurts. If so he definitely needs to go to the dentist.
It seems it might be best to have it extracted, but his other tooth may push it out if the x-rays show it's ready for that.
I know it's a pain, but I would get him checked. Extractions aren't all that expensive if you can find a clinic that charges on a sliding scale. He's 12. I wouldn't spend a ton of money on something he will lose anyway.
Consult a dentist.

Best wishes.



answers from Philadelphia on

Is he is a lot of pain from the broken tooth? If so I'd call the dentisit's # and see if there is an on call person to talk to. Otherwise, avoid hot/cold - motrin or tylenol for manageable pain. I don't think it will be a huge issue overnight. I would think they could cap it, if it is a " baby tooth". If you are worried about infection, make sure he brushes with warm water and maybe baking soda. Hope this helps!



answers from Kansas City on

Frequently teeth can come out in pieces. If he's not in pain, see if he can wiggle it any. The dentist might have to give it a little help. He or she can numb it up and use a
special instrument to pop it loose. Don't worry too much!



answers from Portland on

I'm a dental hygienist. I can't say for sure, without looking at the situation, but it sounds like maybe the post from Andrea G. is correct. When baby molars are getting ready to come out, the body resorbs the roots, so that by the time the tooth actually falls out, it only looks like half a tooth--the crown part--and the part that was attached to the gums may look "broken," allowing you to see inside the crown. That's normal. You should look inside your son's mouth and see if what part that's there looks like the top of a new tooth, or if you can actually see any root fragments left behind (it could be difficult to tell, though). Sometimes pieces of root don't entirely resorb and will break off. If that happens, your dentist should easily be able to remove it. Also, if your son is in pain, you should definitely call your dentist. Otherwise, it really sounds pretty normal.



answers from Portland on

I grind my teeth and have had the top of a couple of my molars break off close to the gum. The dentist said that as long as I felt no pain, this wasn't a problem. I am starting to feel some pain now and will go back to have them checked.

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