Plaza Dental Group 515 612 7148  1089 Jordan Creek Pkwy #100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

What should I do if a molar has broken off at the gum line?


A broken molar is a dental emergency, as it has the potential to cause severe pain, small chips, and fractures. Therefore, visit your dentist immediately if a molar has broken off at or under your gum line.

Read more to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of a broken molar.

Causes of a Broken Molar

Factors contributing to a broken molar are:

  • Weakness caused by filling
  • Aging teeth
  • Accidentally biting something hard
    Tooth decay caused by untreated cavities
  • Chronic teeth grinding
  • Recurrent cavities
  • Sudden changes in the mouth temperature
  • Facial trauma from sports injuries and accidents

Symptoms of a Broken Molar

A broken molar at your gum line will cause you to:

  • Sense the missing or broken part of your tooth with your tongue.
  • See the broken tooth appearing pink or yellow. If the tooth appears dark brown or black, it may indicate tooth decay.
  • Feel the sharp and jagged edge of the remaining fragment in your gum, which can cause inflammation.
  • Bleed from broken blood vessels.
  • Experience pain from exposed nerve roots or while consuming cold or sweet foods or beverages.

Complications of a Broken Molar

If not treated, a broken molar can cause:

  • Tooth decay due to the lack of enamel to cover blood vessels and nerves
  • Abscess
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection, which may spread to your jaw bone

Treatment for Broken Molar

Many factors, including the depth of the break and how quickly you act, will help your dentist determine the available options for broken molars. These may include:

  • Reattaching Bone Fragment

    Your dentist will use bonding agents to reattach the broken tooth if your tooth is not deeply broken. They may combine this procedure with a root canal if the tooth pulp is exposed.

  • Root Canal

    When your tooth’s inside is inflamed or infected, a root canal is performed to remove the pulp (containing nerves and blood vessels) from your tooth’s center and replace it with rubbery filling.

  • Extrusion

    When a molar is broken below your gum line, you will be asked to wear aligners or braces on the fractured tooth for some weeks to pull it above your gum line.

  • Filling or Crown

    If the damage is minor, your dentist may use a filling to fix your broken molar or crown to cover it. They may perform a crown lengthening procedure if not enough tooth is exposed to hold the crown.

  • Tooth Extraction or Replacement

    If your tooth cannot be restored, your dentist will extract it and replace it with a denture, endosteal implant, or dental bridge.

How Long Is the Recovery?

Your recovery can take a few days to a few weeks depending on the procedure performed to fix your broken molar. Follow the after-care instructions recommended by your dentist including, avoiding sticky or crunchy foods, chewing with the broken tooth, and drinking using a straw.

How to Prevent a Broken Molar?

  • Do not use your teeth to break or cut anything.
  • Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth.
  • Avoid chewing on hard foods.
  • Reduce consuming foods and beverages high in sugar.
  • Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports.

Fractured teeth are vulnerable to decay and infection because they lack protective enamel, which covers the nerves and blood vessels inside. Untreated broken molars can cause infection, abscess, and nerve damage. Bacteria from this contamination can also infect your jaw bone, surrounding teeth, and gums.

If you need to fix your broken molar, schedule an appointment with our emergency dentist in West Des Moines today!

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!

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4.6
Based on 164 reviews
Dr Colin Odland is the best! He is very knowledgeable, patient, kind and makes sure you are doing ok as he works. I highly recommend him, especially patients that have had bad experiences with dentists in the past.
Debora Lynn
Debora Lynn
I just switched to Plaza because it’s closer to my work/home and I’d give them 100 stars if I could! My hygienist Talia had amazing attention to detail (and I’m known to be very particular) and Dr. Odland’s chairside manner was amazing. I don’t know why I didn’t come here sooner!
Derek Zarn
Derek Zarn
I had a great experience at Plaza Dental in West Des Moines. Lacey was the nicest person to work with. I had the Zoom whitening done and Lacey was excellent. She answered all my questions and explained everything in great detail. Thank you for a wonderful visit and my bright white teeth.
Barb Lang
Barb Lang
I had a great experience today at Plaza Dental Group! As you know- going to the dentist can always be nerve racking to many people. The staff was friendly and communicated well with me throughout the process!They even had one of their more seasoned and veteran staff members (Suzie) stop by just to say hi! Talk about a “day brightner” on a Monday morning! It was much appreciated!Plaza Dental Group is not just making my smile better, they are making my life better!#friendlyservice#feelslikefamily#newbffs!read more
Shane Kennedy
Shane Kennedy
Susie does a great job. She makes sure I'm comfortable and makes sure I'm happy with service. Whole office is very professional and personable. Answers any questions and is straight forward about plans and payment options.
reaven 435
reaven 435
Huge shout out to Lacey! You really make going to the dentist less stressful with your positive energy and your desire to get to know your client on a personal level…Great job and thank you!
Scott Loecke
Scott Loecke
Great dental office in West DM! Susie was awesome and did great work, even let me pick the music! They obviously care about client experience here and I am glad to have found this gem of a dentist.
Jared Winkers
Jared Winkers
I’ve been so impressed and grateful for the care I’ve received at Plaza Dental! From cleanings to potential periodontal issues, Lacey and Dr. J have been on top of my progress. Highly educated, thorough, incredibly friendly, and patient-focused. I would highly recommend them!
Cynthia Shidler
Cynthia Shidler
The Plaza Dental staff is just the BEST! I always enjoy coming in for my cleanings and my Invisalign appointments. I always feel at home like I'm a part of the family. Thank you all for that. A big shoutout to Dr. Dietrich, Susan (Suzie), and Noel. I love you guys so much!!!! Thank you all for your contribution on this journey to a beautiful smile. Xoxo!!!!read more
Savion Solé
Savion Solé
My experience was amazing! Everyone was so kind and answered all my questions. I am usually one who has a fear of dentist, but I felt so comfortable and relaxed which I have never experienced at a dental office before.
Taylor Moore
Taylor Moore
My experience with the Plaza Dental Group has been amazing! The receptionist was delightful when I initially called to schedule my appointment. She had me laughing. I was warmly greeted and didn't have to wait long. They were non judgemental and thorough in my initial examination. I was given a detailed plan of action to address my issues. Today my appointment with Dr. Odland was excellent. He has the most gentle touch by the way. A must in a Dentist in my opinion. Aaron a future dentist helped make me comfortable and he assisted Dr. Odland perfectly while keeping me comfortable throughout the process. My overall experience has been wonderful. I highly recommend this experienced group of professionals. They've got a lifelong client with me.read more
MS Cacklebottom
MS Cacklebottom
Lacey does an amazing job- highly recommend her for hygiene needs. Also- Dr. Jay is hands down the best dentist I’ve ever seen. These folks deal with your anxiety in a positive way, are supportive and helpful — and you leave there feeling better and definitely being a little more proud of your smile!read more
Nick Ryan
Nick Ryan
I always have THE best experiences at Plaza Dental. The entire staff is amazing and friendly. Especially Susie and Noel who are simply THE best! I highly recommend for regular dental visits and I was highly impressed with my Invisalign treatment. I actually look forward to going to the dentist now! Love it!read more
Jamie Petersen
Jamie Petersen
I recently had cosmetic surgery. Dr. Dietrich and her assistant Joel were so professional and did excellent work. I am beyond pleased with my new smile!
LR Meyer
LR Meyer
To the whole plaza dental family you guys are the best I strongly recommend you guys to every one🙂🙂🙂 really kind nice people and do the best job EVER!!! Doctor JAY JENSEN you rock and congratulations on your move,also to all the staff you ladies made me feel very comfortable thank you thank you god bless.Doctor Jay Jensen keep doing your thing🙂 and the ladies up front you guys double rock🙂🙂 thanks for opening the door for me Lol, Alvin Thanks Plaza!!!!read more
Alvin Lee
Alvin Lee
This place is amazing. I feel the most comfortable and at ease here over any dental office I've ever been to and I've been around the block. Lacey is best although one time she wore white after labor day, but I won't fault her for that.
David Prins
David Prins
My dental hygienist, Sara, is the kindest person to work with. She is honest with her overview and analysis. She is friendly and happy to talk to you. I’ve never had a bad experience at Plaza and would recommend anyone come in for a consult or to be a new client with the dental practice. Thank you Sara for all that you do!read more
Kevin Black
Kevin Black
I would recommend to anyone! Great and friendly staff.Really put me at ease.Kept me well informed during my visit as to what procedure was being done.Great experience overall.
Dave Gates
Dave Gates
Professional, really caring team!! It’s awesome to be able to receive such expert care and most procedures can be taken care of in one place. Highly recommend this great place!!!! So kind and helpful.
Amy Gionis
Amy Gionis
Plaza Dental Group
Plaza Dental Group. 1089 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

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