Identifying and Treating an Inflamed Tooth Ligament

Just like your bones, your teeth can be bruised as well. If you have ever bitten down on a fork or hard food, you might be familiar with the dull, lingering pain that follows. This happens due to an inflamed tooth ligament.

This is also known as sprained tooth syndrome. It sprains, damages, or inflames the ligaments that hold your teeth in place.

What Is a Tooth Ligament?

A tooth ligament, or periodontal ligament (PDL), is a special tissue that connects the tooth to the bone socket. It is mainly made of collagen fibers that attach the cementum (the hard covering of the tooth root) to the inner wall of the bone socket. The main functions of the PDL are:

  • Anchoring and attaching the tooth to its socket
  • Acting as a shock absorber during chewing and biting
  • Allowing slight tooth movement under normal forces
  • Helping with tooth eruption and bone remodeling

Causes of a Bruised Tooth Ligament

The ligaments in a tooth can get damaged from too much pressure or biting down on something hard or sharp. Eating sharp food carelessly can also make your gums bleed. Usually, patients feel a sharp pain that is similar to a toothache.

However, a ligament sprain is easier to identify because the pain is usually in just one tooth. There are many ways to sprain a tooth. The following are the most common causes:

  • Clenching teeth
  • Grinding teeth at night
  • Biting nails
  • Dental surgeries (like a root canal)
  • Biting on hard foods
  • Overfilled, underfilled, or unfilled cavities
  • Various tooth infections
  • Trauma from small objects like seeds, kernels, or ice
  • Allergies or a cold

Symptoms of a Sprained Tooth Ligament

The first sign of a tooth sprain is pain. Dentists look for dull or achy pain to indicate a ligament sprain. You might also feel sharp, localized pain in one tooth. If the pain is in a larger area or hard to pinpoint, it could mean an infection or toothache, which needs immediate medical attention.

However, a bruised tooth can wait a few days to see if it heals on its own. Other symptoms of an inflamed tooth ligament include:

  • Lingering soreness
  • Inflammation
  • Sensitivity
  • Redness
  • Bleeding gums

How Long Does Sprained Tooth Ligament Take to Heal?

It’s hard for tooth ligaments to heal quickly because we constantly use our teeth for chewing, speaking, and swallowing. More strain can make the pain worse and spread to nearby tissues.

With proper care and time, most sprained tooth ligaments will heal on their own within several weeks to months. However, if the pain gets worse or spreads, it’s important to see a dentist quickly.

How to Treat a Bruised Tooth?

The first recommended treatment for a bruised tooth is rest. Dental procedures can make the pain worse. However, if you have had recent dental work and your bite feels off, see your dentist. They can check if your bite needs adjustment.

You might also be prescribed medication to reduce pain and inflammation. If you clench or grind your teeth, consider using a mouth guard for protection. Your doctor can also suggest eating soft foods until the pain goes away.

Wrapping Up

A lingering toothache is a strong indication of an inflamed tooth ligament. If left alone, the pain can spread quickly and increase the chances of infection. Refrain from self-diagnosing and contact your dentist immediately.

Visit us at Pearland Family Dentistry. Our expert team of dental professionals strives to keep your dental health at the optimal level. Call us at (832) 649-7344 for an appointment.

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