What is causing the dull aching pain in my tooth?
June 12, 2010 1:24 PM   Subscribe

What's wrong with my tooth? Dull numbing pain after an injury.

About 10 days ago, I accidentally bit down really hard on a metal fork with my front 2 teeth on the top, on the right side. It makes me cringe thinking about it again — it really hurt when I did it.

There are no cracks/chips that I can see or feel, no discoloration, the teeth are intact and not wiggly. There is no intense or sharp pain, I'm able to eat normally and they are not sensitive to hot or cold.

The problem is that there is a dull, almost numbing ache in those 2 teeth. It feels almost like a bruise. Easy to ignore most of the time, but certainly there and annoying when I think about it.

I've never had anything wrong with my teeth — no cavities, no braces. I just get them cleaned 2x/year, so I really have no mouth/tooth pain to associate this with.

Yes, I could go to the dentist and eventually I will, but don't want to waste the money if this is something that will disappear on its own.

Any thoughts as to what this is?
posted by designbyme to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It could be a bruise. It could be a crack that's not visible (tooth roots, for example, can crack). I'd get myself to a dentist, if I were you.

Also, advil works wonders for tooth pain.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:29 PM on June 12, 2010

I once had nasty pain in a tooth after having a crown put in. The dentist assured me that it was probably because the ligaments that hold the tooth roots in place had gotten bruised from the trauma. It hurt so badly that I had a hard time believing him, but after a couple of weeks it went away. If it still hurts in a few weeks or becomes more painful, then yeah, go get it looked at.
posted by corey flood at 1:31 PM on June 12, 2010

I would suggest this--if something has not improved or become worse in 10-14 days there is most likely a problem. If something has not improved in 6 weeks there is almost certainly a problem. An x-ray will quickly confirm whether there is/is not a problem. Hope you feel better.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:34 PM on June 12, 2010

I did this exact thing 5 or 6 years ago (eating salad on Labor Day -- I can still flash back to that moment and cringe) and had the same deep bruising sensation. I was certain initially that I had to have chipped or broken at least my front upper left tooth, it hurt so bad. I took ibuprofen, which helped, and was careful the next couple of weeks about how I bit down on things. It probably took a good 3 weeks before I no longer had pain, and I never saw or felt any signs of chipping or breaking, so I eventually decided that I really had just deeply bruised the tooth/gum/jaw/whatever. I haven't had any trouble with that tooth since (knock on wood).
posted by worldswalker at 2:24 PM on June 12, 2010

You might have loosened them; they could have microscopic cracking, too. Go to the dentist.

(Split my lip last year and rang my front teeth like a bell. Had to have them splinted.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:45 PM on June 12, 2010

the most likely thing is that you have compressed the tooth in its ligament space, possibly amputating the blood supply to the teeth.
You might eventually need to do something about this, but if you have not fully compromised the blood supply the teeth will likely recover.
Intense cold sensitivity would be a red flag (see a dentist), but these injuries often take years to manifest as something severe (dead tooth leading to root canal). happens a lot with kids and bicycle handlebars/monkey bars.
It's never a bad idea to have a pro look them over, there are other possibilities and stabilization can sometimes save a tooth.
good luck, usual disclaimers apply.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:18 PM on June 12, 2010

A week later and I thought I'd give you all an update. The tooth feels 100% better. I was going to head to the dentist this last week if it was still feeling weird, but it seemed to improve on its own. For now I think I'm just going to count my blessings that it got better instead of worse, and just make a mention of it at my next routine dentist appointment.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and thoughts.
posted by designbyme at 12:53 PM on June 20, 2010

« Older Help me negotiate   |   I'll have the mystery meat. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.