What is a Ligament in a Tooth?

What is a Ligament in a Tooth?

Dec 01, 2022

You might have heard that your teeth are held in position by the gums and jawbone. While your gums and the jawbone play a good role in supporting your teeth, the periodontal ligament (PDL) holds your teeth in place.

What is a periodontal ligament?

A periodontal ligament, or simply a ligament, is a group of fibrous connective tissues that anchors the teeth roots to the alveolar bone socket. The ligament is between the adjacent bone and the root part of the tooth, but it doesn’t support the outer gum tissues. It gives the tooth the mechanical strength to function under excessive chewing and adequately absorbs any excess pressure from bruxism.

The ligament also aids in teeth eruption and supports orthodontic teeth movements. If your teeth directly connect to the jawbone, they wouldn’t move. It would function like a dental implant. The periodontal ligament allows orthodontic movements, ensuring that you can remove a tooth without causing significant trauma to the jawbone.

What can affect the periodontal ligament?

Like any part of your mouth, your periodontal ligament can become aggravated for several reasons, including:

  • Grinding and clenching your teeth
  • Chewing hard foods
  • Bad habits like nail biting
  • Tooth infection
  • Trauma
  • Dental procedures like fillings or surgeries
  • Trauma from minor objects like seeds, bones, ice, and kernels
  • Sinus problems like a cold or allergies

Advanced gum disease is a key leading cause of periodontal ligament, jawbone, and other tissue damage. Periodontal infection can irritate and inflame the ligament, significantly damaging it.

When the ligament is lost or weakened, the tooth loses its support to the jawbone. It causes your teeth to loosen, move, or fall out. Seek gum disease treatment if you have gum symptoms like redness, soreness, and bleeding. Treating gum disease restores the health of your gums and prevents further damage to the soft and hard tissues that support your teeth.

Fortunately, you can protect your teeth, bone, gums, and periodontal ligaments by brushing and flossing your teeth daily and seeing your dentist for routine dental exams and cleanings.

Signs of damaged periodontal ligaments

Several symptoms can indicate that your periodontal ligament is damaged. Seek periodontal treatment near you if you experience:

  • A sharp or dull localized pain in a specific tooth
  • Lingering soreness
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Tooth abscesses
  • Bleeding or swollen gums

For should visit a dentist near you immediately if you experience severe bleeding, swelling, or pain. Tooth abscesses often indicate an infection is spreading, and thus you require immediate treatment. Severe tooth trauma also needs immediate medical attention. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

How is a bruised tooth treated?

Fortunately, a damaged tooth ligament can heal. To help it heal faster, prevent further damage or strain to your ligament and tooth. For instance, significant chewing, biting, and speaking can worsen your symptoms. Avoid chewing on the affected tooth, and eat a soft diet to help you recover faster. Typically, recovery can take 2 – 4 weeks or longer. The dentist Fort Atkinson can also prescribe medications to alleviate pain and other symptoms.

How to prevent periodontal ligament damage

While a periodontal ligament can heal, it’s better to prevent injuries in the first place. Practical tips for caring for your ligament and tooth include:

  • Brush twice daily.
  • Avoid abrasive oral products.
  • Floss at least once daily.
  • Avoid hard foods like candy, nuts, seeds, and ice. If you must eat these items, cut them into small pieces and chew slowly.
  • Avoid damaging habits such as nail biting or using your teeth as a tool.
  • Limit sugary and acidic food items to limit tooth and gum infections.
  • Consult your dentist about a custom night guard if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw at night.
  • Wear a custom sports guard during contact sports.
  • Schedule routine dental exams and cleanings.

Schedule an appointment today

Do you suspect that you might have a bruised tooth ligament? Contact Rock River Dental for periodontal treatment in Fort Atkinson.

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