The short answer is yes, you can bruise a tooth. But you’re really bruising the ligaments that are holding your tooth in place. When you take a hit to the mouth, the soft tissues and ligaments around the tooth absorb the impact—causing capillaries to burst and travel through the opening at the tip of the root. A bruised tooth also referred to as a strained tooth, is often due to trauma or injury.
A tooth that has been bruised by trauma or injury is susceptible to pain and infection. The trauma or injury could be a sports injury, biting down on a hard object, teeth clenching or grinding, or overfilled or underfilled cavity fillings. In some cases, a bruised tooth may even be caused by trauma from small objects that were accidentally chewed such as bones, seeds, kernels, or ice. Dental procedures and surgeries may also leave you with some bruising. A bruised tooth can be caused in numerous ways.
Symptoms of a bruised tooth include tenderness around the injured area. This pain may linger for days or even months. Lingering soreness is the most common symptom. You may also see some discoloration. If the tooth turns gray, it could mean that the pulp inside is no longer vital—which can lead to a dead tooth. If the tooth is turning pink, it may be a sign of international root resorption. There may also be some inflammation, sensitivity, redness, and bleeding gums.
If your pain is lingering, it’s important to see a doctor. Soreness that doesn’t go away could be a sign of a bruised ligament or another underlying problem. If left untreated, pain and infection can spread to other areas of the mouth. If your pain is lingering and your tooth is at all loose—see a dentist.
The first step of treatment is to determine the cause. If the bruised tooth is due to teeth grinding or something similar, a mouth guard may be the first course of action. If the bruised tooth is due to trauma, it will need time and possibly medication to heal. Avoid using the bruised are when chewing to avoid further bruising to surrounding areas.
Tooth trauma can also impact your bite. If your bite feels off in any way—see a dentist.
In some cases, over-the-counter medication may help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. If the bruising is extensive, you may require prescribed medication—this can be obtained at the dentist’s office.
If you have experienced tooth trauma and need some surgical work done, come see our expert surgeons at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. Whether you need a dental implant to replace an infected tooth or some other treatment, we’ll have you smiling in no time! Give us a call today.