Careless chewing or trauma can lead to a bruised tooth. The consequences of a bruised tooth can range from discomfort to tooth loss.
Bruised Tooth Meaning
One of the most common reasons patients go to dental clinics is traumatic damage to their teeth and surrounding tissues. At any age, a bruised tooth can occur – a painful injury that, despite the discomfort, seems harmless at first. Subsequently, it is not uncommon to find that the pain does not subside, and the bruised tooth begins to react to hot or cold. This usually means that the neurovascular bundle, the dental pulp, has been damaged and a visit to the dental office is necessary.
Even a very careful adult can get a badly bruised gum or tooth (for example, by miscalculating their movement and hitting themselves with a spoon or a glass). What about babies, who are constantly on the move and often fall, hitting their teeth on various objects. This results in cracked enamel, root fractures, dislocations and other injuries. In the ICD (International Classification of Diseases), a chapter 29 is devoted to dental trauma, which describes the consequences of single or multiple mechanical effects resulting in damage to the integrity of the teeth and surrounding tissues.
Dental injuries can occur for a variety of reasons, among which the following are most common:
- Accidental impact with the jaw on a hard object when falling or in a car accident;
- hitting the front teeth with a glass, spoon or other utensils (sometimes these blows are so strong that they break off part of the incisor);
- hitting the teeth with a fist or other blunt object (an occupational injury that often occurs in wrestlers of various martial arts);
- Chronic injuries related to a person’s habits or lifestyle (tendency to chew nails, bite into a pen, frequent consumption of sunflower seeds, splitting pistachios and other relatively soft nuts with your teeth)
- Damage during treatment of neighboring teeth (a badly bruised tooth can occur both because of a dentist’s error and because of the patient’s anatomy, neglected diseases, and other factors).
The possibility of chipped enamel and other traumatic damage to dental tissues increases significantly with poor oral care and dental health. Enamel then becomes more fragile, and the initial stages of dental caries can develop, weakening the tooth noticeably. Timely treatment and good oral health care significantly reduce the risk of trauma to the teeth caused by an impact or other physical impact.
Symptoms of a Bruised Tooth
Depending on how long and intense the tooth pain after a bruise is, you can draw conclusions about the severity of the injury. Often immediately after a blow, it seems that the pain gradually subsides and will soon completely disappear. However, over time, the unpleasant sensations only increase, and when you put pressure on the tooth itself or the gum next to it, the pain can become unbearably strong.
In addition to pain, the following symptoms may occur:
- The gum in the area of the bruised tooth becomes swollen, with bruising or swelling;
- The tooth may become reddish in color due to blood released into the pulp from ruptured blood vessels;
- A bruised front tooth may result in noticeable loosening of individual incisors (the person may feel that the tooth is not holding up well and may fall out);
- The crown may become noticeably darker over time due to dental tissue malnutrition and penetration of contaminants into cracks in the enamel.
Any of these symptoms are serious enough to warrant a visit to a dental clinic as soon as possible. Pain is always an indication of damage that can lead to the loss of a healthy-looking tooth over time.
Bruised Tooth: What to Do?
Note that the severity of the injury cannot be determined by yourself. A full diagnosis must include an X-ray and a professional examination in a dental office. At home, an experienced dentist can examine the injuries and make certain assumptions, but even he or she will not be able to make an accurate diagnosis without the necessary tools.
If it is obvious that the bruised tooth is quite serious, self-treatment is unacceptable. To ease the pain, you can apply ice or just a cold object and go to the dentist as soon as possible. If it looks like the jaw is damaged, it is advisable to fix it with a bandage. It is advisable to have someone accompany the victim, as they may become unconscious on the way.
Oral injuries may vary in nature and severity. Regardless of how painful a bruised tooth seems, treatment should be done at a specialized dental clinic. We at Natadent often see such cases. After the initial diagnosis, visual examination, questioning the patient and collecting the anamnesis, an X-ray is taken – only in this way can we unambiguously establish what tissues are damaged and prescribe the right treatment.
By examining the X-ray, the doctor can determine what kind of damage has been done to the tooth (it could be a fracture, dislocation, fracture, various deformities and other pathologies). Only after a correct diagnosis can treatment be prescribed. If the bruised tooth has caused serious damage, electrodiagnostics is prescribed – a special procedure that allows you to determine the condition of the pulp, to detect hemorrhages and necrotic areas.
If the diagnostic actions showed that the damage is not very serious, a set of preventive measures is prescribed, which includes:
- application of compresses;
- The use of decoctions for mouthwash;
- Exclusion of hot foods and foods that require chewing; exclusion of this part of the tooth row from the process of chewing by applying a bandage or protective splint.
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication.
If a more serious tooth bruise is diagnosed, treatment may include surgical intervention to the structure of the tooth and surrounding tissues. The sequence of steps is determined by the complexity of the injury, but in most cases includes the following steps:
- Local anesthesia is administered (or general anesthesia if complex and painful treatment is involved).
- If the pulpal sack is damaged, even if the enamel of the tooth has retained its structure, the doctor drills a hole in it and removes the nerve.
- The canals and cavity are cleaned, treated and filled as in the usual caries treatment.
A bruised tooth is a dangerous injury that can lead to undesirable consequences and complications. Even if the pulp is removed and a filling is placed, it is advisable for the patient to undergo a course of therapeutic treatment and come back for further examination after some time. Only after that it will be possible to say that the consequences of the injury are completely eliminated and there will be no complications.
Because a bruised gum, tooth or other tissues in the mouth are always individual, it is impossible to give reliable predictions about recovery and possible complications. It usually takes several visits to the dentist to perform the necessary examinations and procedures, after which a full recovery is stated. If treatment is not handled responsibly enough, you may experience the following complications
- darkening of enamel (due to the penetration of contaminants through cracks, blood ingress into the pulp and impaired nutrition of dental tissues);
- pulp cell death and the formation of necrotic areas, leading to the death of the tooth;
- Chronic inflammatory processes (pulpitis and periodontitis) leading to more serious consequences.
Very often, a bruised tooth leads to serious, but hidden injuries. The victim may feel a little pain and think that it will go away soon. However, this is no reason to avoid qualified medical care. The earlier the examination in the dentist’s office, the more likely it will be possible to eliminate all consequences, avoid complications and keep the tooth as healthy as possible.