What is a bruised tooth?

It’s not uncommon to experience a lingering toothache. If you experience pain after visiting the dentist, the problem may be the ligaments of your teeth.

Ligaments hold your teeth in place. These connective tissues act as shock absorbers to cushion your teeth from everyday use. With too much pressure, they can become sprained, damaged, and inflamed. This is called sprained tooth syndrome, or bruised teeth.

What causes sprained tooth syndrome?

Your teeth ligaments can become aggravated from too much pressure or a hard bite into food. The irritation can cause you to feel a sharp pain in your teeth that could be mistaken for a common toothache. However, the two conditions are different. A ligament sprain is localized to one tooth. Pain from a toothache can be difficult to identify in one general area.

There are a number of ways you can sprain your tooth. Some common ways include:

What are the symptoms of a bruised tooth?

The initial symptom from a tooth sprain is pain. Dentists specifically look for dull or achy pain as indication of a ligament sprain. You may also experience a sharp, localized pain in one tooth.

If the pain generates in an open area or is hard to locate, it may be indication of an infection or toothache. An infection or toothache due to dental disease or severe trauma needs immediate medical attention. However, a bruised tooth can wait a few days to see if it heals on its own.

Other symptoms of a bruised tooth include:

How is a bruised tooth treated?

Sprained teeth ligaments can take some time to heal. This is because it’s difficult to not use your teeth. You use and further strain your teeth by chewing, speaking, and swallowing. Further strain to bruised teeth can worsen pain symptoms. It may cause the pain to spread to surrounding tissues as well.

Rest is the initial, recommended treatment for a bruised tooth. Dental procedures will worsen the pain. But if you’ve had recent dental work and your bite doesn’t feel right, see your dentist. They can check to see if your bite needs to be adjusted.

You may also be prescribed medication to reduce pain and inflammation.

If you notice that you clench or grind your teeth, consider using a mouth guard for protection and relief. Your doctor may recommend eating soft foods until pain subsides.

What’s the outlook?

If you’re experiencing a lingering toothache, it may be indication of a bruised tooth ligament. A hard bite into food or excessive pressure due to grinding or clenching can cause strain on the connective tissues of your teeth. This strain may cause you to experience localized pain and discomfort.

If left untreated, your pain can spread to other areas of your mouth. It could also increase your risk of infection. If your pain worsens or if you notice bleeding or swelling, schedule a visit with a dentist. Don’t self-diagnose. Get the treatment you need to feel better.