What is a Sprained Tooth?

Sprained ToothImagine you walk into your doctor’s office after a bad fall. You complain of a sharp pain in your ankle and sensitivity to pressure. Chances are, your doctor diagnoses you with a sprained ankle. It’s a common condition and easily diagnosed. But did you know that it’s possible to suffer from a condition called STS or Sprained Tooth Syndrome?

It’s true. It turns out that each of your teeth are securely held into place by tiny rope-like ligaments. These ligaments can only be seen under a microscope and function somewhat like a suspension system in a bike or car. They are designed to give some flexibility in order to withstand certain amounts of pressure. Without any amount of give, the force exerted when you bite down would crush surrounding blood vessels and cause the tooth to die without its blood supply!

How Do I Get a Sprained Tooth?

When these ligaments are aggravated due to a hard bite or too much pressure, they thicken and irritate the nerve within the tooth. This leads to a sharp pain that can sometimes be mistaken for a toothache caused by tooth decay.

The difference between a sprained tooth and a toothache is that the pain of a sprained tooth is very specific to one tooth, whereas the pain of a toothache is often hard to tell which tooth it is coming from. Your dentist can also use an X-ray to specify whether you have a sprained toot or a toothache from tooth decay.

Several things can lead to a sprained tooth, including:

  • Grinding your teeth at night
  • Clenching teeth
  • Cold, sinus problems or allergies
  • Trauma from small, hard foods
  • Misalignment of teeth caused by poor fitting fillings
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches

How to Treat a Sprained Tooth

If you are suffering from a sprained tooth, the good news is that the ligaments can quickly heal themselves. If you do not aggravate the sprained tooth, within a matter of weeks the pain will disappear, as the ligaments will have recovered. Gum chewing, chewing on one side of the mouth and eating hard foods can all make the condition worse and prolong the healing time.

Your dentist can also help to prevent STS in the future by giving you a night guard to wear at night to stop you from grinding or clenching your teeth. Switching to a diet of soft foods can also help ease the amount of pressure you put on the sprained tooth.

If you are experience sharp pains in one specific tooth, you may be suffering from STS. Visit us at Belmont Dental Care, where Dr. Mark J. Fleming can help diagnose and treat STS. For more information visit us at our office or call us today at (480) 609-0050.

Photo Credit: Free Digital Photos

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