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Fractured Tooth Treatment & Management

  • Author: Lynnus F Peng, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
Updated: Oct 21, 2015

Emergency Department Care

Provide adequate pain management and tetanus vaccination, and ensure proper follow-up care.

  • Ellis I fracture: Smooth rough corners with a dental drill or an emery board.
    • Treatment of fractures contained solely within the enamel alone requires no urgent care. The tooth can be repaired cosmetically at the convenience of the patient
  • Ellis II fracture: Cover exposed dentin with a layer of zinc oxide or calcium hydroxide paste (Dycal).
    • Dycal requires the tooth to be absolutely dry for adherence. Cover the tooth with a small piece of dental or aluminum foil. Exposure to humidity increases the rate at which the Dycal will set.
    • In patients younger than 12 years, coverage is especially important to prevent infection.
  • Ellis III fracture: Cover exposed dentin with a layer of zinc oxide or calcium hydroxide. Bleeding and moisture with this type of fracture usually makes it more difficult for these materials to adhere to the tooth. Cover with dental foil and expediently refer the patient to a dentist.
  • Root and dentoalveolar fractures require splinting by a dentist for several weeks.
  • Bone wax (Ethicon), which is a combination of beeswax and isopropyl palmitate, is not recommended for open dental fractures because it can cause inflammatory reactions of the surrounding soft tissues (eg, pulp).


See the list below:

  • Consult a dental or oral maxillofacial surgeon.
  • Depending on the extent of the fracture, the dentist may do perform a root canal with calcium hydroxide followed by a gutta-percha filling or a partial pulpotomy.
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Lynnus F Peng, MD Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Anesthesia, University of California at Irvine; Chairman of Anesthesia, Department of Surgery, St Jude Medical Center at Fullerton

Lynnus F Peng, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Society of Anesthesiologists

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


A Antoine Kazzi, MD Deputy Chief of Staff, American University of Beirut Medical Center; Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

A Antoine Kazzi, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Willard Peng, DDS, MS Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

Willard Peng, DDS, MS is a member of the following medical societies: American Dental Association, California Dental Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Caleb Cheng University of California at San Diego

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP Professor of Emergency Medicine, Professor of Internal Medicine, Program Director for Emergency Medicine, Case Medical Center, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Heart Association, American Thoracic Society, Arkansas Medical Society, New York Academy of Medicine, New York Academy of Sciences, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Michael Glick, DMD Dean, University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine

Michael Glick, DMD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Oral Medicine, American Dental Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Mark W Fourre, MD Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Vermont School of Medicine; Program Director, Department of Emergency Medicine, Maine Medical Center

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Cross section of an Ellis III dental fracture.
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