Do you have a chipped or cracked tooth and are wondering, “Is a cracked tooth an emergency?”

There are times a chipped tooth requires immediate action and there are times it doesn’t—seeing an emergency dentist for a chipped tooth is often case-specific. So when it comes to chipping, cracking, or breaking teeth, there can be some uncertainty about when to seek out emergency tooth repair

However, if you know what to look for, there are signs that can point to whether broken tooth emergency care is needed, like how much of the tooth broke off.

If you’re interested in learning “Is a broken tooth an emergency?”, then this is the article for you.

In this blog, we’re answering questions about broken and chipped teeth, like:

Keep scrolling to get more information about cracked teeth and emergency dental care.

What Is Emergency Tooth Repair?

Emergency dental care is any dental procedure that you hadn’t previously planned to have. Usually, broken tooth emergency care is needed when you experience some sort of oral trauma, like:

  • Being in a car accident
  • Falling down and hitting your mouth
  • Getting hit in the mouth during an athletic event
  • Biting into something hard (e.g., animal bone, metal fork/spoon, etc.)
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth

Sometimes these trauma cases result in needing immediate dental care. At other times, it’s okay to wait before getting care.

So, when is a broken tooth an emergency?

When Is a Cracked Tooth an Emergency?

If you suffer from a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth, “How long can I wait?” or “How urgent is a chipped tooth?” may be some of the first questions that come to mind.

The biggest indicators that a chipped, broken, or cracked tooth requires emergency tooth repair are pain and bleeding.


Increased pain and sensitivity are clear signs that something is wrong with your tooth, especially if it’s chipped or broken.

If your tooth cracks, chips, or breaks and it’s accompanied by pain, it’s probably best to reach out to your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you get to the dentist, the more quickly they can fix your tooth and alleviate the pain.


Bleeding is another sign that you should seek out an emergency dentist who can repair a chipped tooth.

When there’s bleeding in your mouth, it’s usually the result of damage to your gums or deeper tooth layers. Damage to these areas often requires immediate attention to restore your tooth and preserve your long-term oral health.

Sometimes bleeding (or pain) is the result of your tooth being loose or completely knocked out. If this is the case, it’s best to:

  • Avoid aspirin for pain relief as it can cause further bleeding
  • Try to stop the bleeding by putting light pressure on the affected area
  • Seek to preserve the tooth as your dentist may be able to reattach it in your mouth

The bottom line is that sudden, severe pain and/or bleeding are almost always indications that your chipped, broken, or cracked tooth is an emergency.

But what if you don’t have these symptoms? How long can you wait before going to the dentist?

How Long Can You Go with a Broken Tooth?

If your tooth is hurting or bleeding, you probably shouldn’t wait very long. It’s best to call your dentist and set up an appointment for the earliest possible time.

But if you aren’t experiencing those symptoms, it may still be valuable to call your dentist and set up a time for them to look at your tooth. A slight chip or break may not warrant any treatment. 

However, a chip, crack, or break that affects the integrity of your teeth (even if it doesn’t come with pain or bleeding) could require repair to preserve long-term tooth health.

Ultimately, it’s never a bad idea to immediately give your dentist a call when you chip, crack, or break a tooth—regardless of how slight you think the issue is.

Now that you know more about emergency tooth repair, let’s talk about what going to an emergency dentist actually looks like.

What’s Involved in Broken Tooth Emergency Care?

The emergency tooth repair treatment you need will vary depending on the severity of your situation.

In simple cases, you may only need a few surface fillings or a crown. Surface fillings will ensure the chips, cracks, or breaks are covered up and that the tooth’s integrity is intact. With a crown, your dentist will enclose the affected tooth with a new, strong, tooth-like cap that will strengthen your tooth and protect it from further damage.

If your chip, crack, or break is more severe, your dentist may need to extract the tooth and place an implant or implant crown.

Ultimately, your dentist will know how severe your situation is and which treatment method is best.

Can You Go to Any Dentist for Emergency Treatment?

Many dental practices provide emergency dental care, but the immediacy and level of care may vary depending on whether you’re already an established patient at the practice or not.

Established Patient

As an established patient, your practice may have a dentist on call that can see you the same day as your emergency. 

Whether you have a chipped tooth that needs filling or a sensitive tooth that requires a root canal, your office should be able to get you in quickly. 

Not an Established Patient

If you’re not an established patient at a dental office but you have an emergency, you can still call an office in your area. However, they may not be able to get you in on the day you call.

Instead, you may need to wait until the next day or an appointment slot opens up. And once you get into the office, you may only receive a 30-minute consultation that addresses your one specific tooth, not your entire mouth.

So, it’s incredibly beneficial to become an established patient at a practice before an emergency comes up. As an established patient, you’ll receive quick, expert care as soon as you need it.

If you’re in the Richmond, VA area and are looking for a dentist office to call home, come on in to Northside Dental Co. and ensure that you have somewhere to go if an emergency arises.

At Northside Dental Co, we provide a comprehensive list of dental services, including emergency dental procedures. We have a dentist on call who’s trained and ready to diagnose your problem and provide an expert fix. Established patients are guaranteed treatment the same day as their emergency. However, non-established patients can still receive treatment, it may simply require waiting an extra day or two. 

You can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at 804-767-3410.