Having a sharp tooth can be a literal pain in the mouth, causing discomfort, irritation, and sometimes even injuries.
The sensation you get from a sharp tooth rubbing against your tongue is not only bothersome but can lead to more significant oral health issues if left unaddressed. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you should not panic, as this is a common occurrence.
This article will take you through all the right steps as advised by dentists by highlighting:
- The common causes of sharp teeth;
- How to know you have a sharp tooth;
- Dentist-approved steps to take when you experience a sharp tooth;
- Average costs related to fixing a sharp tooth.
Understanding Sharp Teeth
A sharp tooth is a tooth with an irregular or jagged edge. It is also known as an abraded or pointed tooth.
In contrast to the smooth and rounded surface a healthy tooth should have, a sharp tooth may feel rough and pointed when touched with the tongue or fingers. This irregularity can lead to discomfort when the sharp tooth rubs against the tongue, cheek, or lips, and in some cases, it may even cause injury.
But how exactly can you get a sharp tooth?
How Sharp Teeth Develop
There are various ways that you can get a sharp tooth, including:
- Tooth wear: Over time, teeth may naturally wear down due to factors like chewing, grinding, or clenching. As the tooth’s protective enamel thins, the underlying dentin becomes exposed, which can result in irregularities on the tooth’s surface. Using a good mouthguard for teeth grinding can offer temporary reprieve, especially when sleeping.
- Misalignment: Teeth that are crooked, crowded, or misaligned are more prone to developing sharp edges. When teeth do not fit together correctly, they can rub against each other, leading to wear and abrasion that results in sharp edges.
- Using braces or dental appliances: Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, can sometimes cause sharp teeth. Brackets and wires can create friction, leading to uneven wear on specific teeth. However, this is usually a temporary issue that is addressed by the orthodontist during treatment. Moreover, you may opt for a night guard with braces to help alleviate the discomfort.
- Poor dental habits: Inadequate oral hygiene, including infrequent brushing and flossing, can lead to the accumulation of plaque and tartar. These substances can cause tooth erosion and contribute to the development of sharp edges.
- Dietary factors: Consuming highly acidic or sugary foods and beverages can weaken tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to wear and abrasion, thus potentially causing sharp teeth.
When a tooth becomes sharp, it can create several unpleasant sensations. You may feel it constantly rubbing against your tongue, causing irritation and discomfort.
In more severe cases, it can even lead to cuts or sores on the tongue or inner cheeks. These sensations can make everyday activities such as eating, talking, or even just resting your tongue in your mouth uncomfortable.
Besides the immediate discomfort, sharp teeth can lead to various oral health problems. They can accelerate tooth decay, as food particles can get trapped between the sharp edges and are more difficult to clean.
Over time, this can result in cavities and gum issues. Furthermore, the constant pressure and friction from a sharp tooth against the tongue can cause the tooth to wear down further, increasing the risk of chipping or breaking.
Addressing a Sharp Tooth: Immediate Steps and Precautions
Discovering that you have a sharp tooth can be uncomfortable and concerning. Taking immediate action is vital to prevent further discomfort and potential dental complications.
Here’s what to do when you realize you have a sharp tooth:
Consult with your dentist
Scheduling an appointment with your dentist is the most critical step. Dentists are trained to diagnose the cause of sharp teeth and provide appropriate treatment. They are better placed to offer useful guidance on what to do.
In case you have a sharp tooth due to misalignment or orthodontic treatment, consult an orthodontist for adjustments to address the issue.
Rinse your mouth
In case you cannot reach your dentist in time, or your appointment is scheduled for a later date, start by gently rinsing your mouth with warm water. This will help clean the area and provide temporary relief.
Use dental wax
Dental wax, which is available at most drugstores, can be a lifesaver in providing short-term relief. Apply a small amount of dental wax to the sharp edge of the tooth to create a smooth surface, preventing further irritation.
Switch to a soft diet
To reduce the risk of further abrasion and irritation, opt for a soft diet temporarily. Avoid hard or crunchy foods, which can exacerbate the issue.
Avoir the pointed teeth
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid the sharp tooth. Naturally, avoid using or pressing your tongue, cheek, or lips against the pointed or jagged part of the tooth to prevent further discomfort and potential injury.
Although these methods can provide relief from the pain, it would be prudent to note that this will only be temporary until the dentist recommends the right steps to follow. You may feel tempted to try out other DIY techniques to help alleviate the symptoms. However, dentists recommend that you avoid these extra processes as they can make the situation worse.
So, what should you avoid?
What to Avoid With a Sharp Tooth
- DIY methods: Avoid trying to file down the sharp tooth yourself. This can lead to uneven surfaces, making the situation worse. Leave dental work to the professionals.
- Ignoring the problem: Sharp teeth can result from various underlying issues, such as enamel erosion or alignment problems. Ignoring the issue can lead to more extensive dental work and complications.
- Delaying dental visits: Once you’ve identified a sharp tooth, don’t procrastinate on scheduling a dental appointment. Prompt action can prevent further irritation and dental problems.
- Using your teeth as tools: Refrain from using your teeth to open packages, tear tape, or perform other tasks. Using teeth for purposes other than chewing can lead to chipping and abrasion.
Methods to Fix a Sharp Tooth
If you have a sharp tooth, the good news is that there are several methods available to fix this issue and restore your dental comfort and functionality. Some of these methods include:
Modifying the tooth's shape
Modifying the shape of a broken sharp tooth is a common approach to addressing this issue. Dentists can reshape the tooth by removing the pointed or jagged areas, creating a smoother and more comfortable surface.
Here’s how it’s done at the dentist’s office:
- Dental examination: The process begins with a comprehensive dental examination. The dentist will assess the sharp tooth, its underlying cause, and the extent of the modification required.
- Local anesthesia: In most cases, local anesthesia is administered to ensure the patient is comfortable and pain-free during the procedure.
- Tooth reshaping: Using dental instruments, the dentist carefully removes the sharp edges or irregularities from the tooth’s surface. This reshaping process is precise and aims to maintain the tooth’s structural integrity.
- Smoothing: After reshaping, the tooth is smoothed and polished to create a seamless, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing surface.
This method is effective for addressing sharp teeth caused by minor irregularities, such as natural wear, without the need for more extensive dental work.
Utilizing dental fillings/ bonding
Dental fillings or bonding is an option for sharp teeth that require more than mere reshaping. This method involves the application of a dental composite material to the tooth’s surface to correct irregularities.
Here’s how to fix a sharp tooth using dental bonding:
- Consultation: The dentist will assess the sharp tooth and determine if dental bonding is the appropriate solution. You’ll also get to know how much teeth bonding is in this phase. This method is particularly useful for addressing small chips or imperfections.
- Tooth preparation: The tooth is prepared by etching its surface and applying a bonding agent to ensure the composite material adheres securely.
- Composite application: A tooth-colored composite material is applied to the tooth and carefully shaped to achieve the desired appearance and function.
- Polishing: The composite material is hardened with a special light, and the tooth is polished to blend seamlessly with the surrounding teeth.
Dental fillings or bonding are versatile options that can effectively repair minor imperfections and restore both form and function.
Implementing a dental crown
For severe sharp tooth issues, a dental crown may be recommended. Dental crowns are customized tooth-shaped caps that cover the entire tooth, preserving its function and appearance.
Getting a dental crown is a straightforward process that still requires you to get it done at the dentist’s. Here’s a summary of what you should expect:
- Examination and preparation: The dentist examines the sharp tooth, removes any damaged areas, and prepares it to receive the crown.
- Impressions: Impressions of the prepared tooth are taken to create a custom crown that matches the shape and color of the surrounding teeth.
- Temporary crown: While the permanent crown is being fabricated, a temporary crown is placed to protect the tooth.
- Crown placement: Once the permanent crown is ready, it’s cemented onto the prepared tooth. The crown completely covers and protects the sharp tooth, restoring its normal function and appearance.
Dental crowns are a durable and long-lasting solution for sharp teeth resulting from more extensive damage.
Applying dental veneers
Dental veneers are thin shells made of porcelain or composite resin that are custom-fitted to the front surface of the tooth. They can be a solution for improving the appearance of sharp teeth.
Getting dental veneers can either be done at the dentist, or you can get clip-on veneers. Clip-on veneers may not require extensive preparation but may not match dentist-provided veneers in terms of quality and appearance.
So, what do undergo when getting veneers done at the dentist?
- Consultation and preparation: The dentist evaluates the sharp tooth and prepares it by removing a small amount of enamel to accommodate the veneer.
- Impression and fabrication: Impressions are taken, and the veneer is custom-made to match the desired tooth shape and color.
- Veneer bonding: The veneer is securely bonded to the tooth’s front surface, hiding any sharp edges and creating a natural, pleasing appearance.
Dental veneers are primarily used for cosmetic purposes, making them a suitable choice for improving the appearance of sharp teeth with minor structural issues.
Sharp Tooth Pain Relief Methods
When you experience pain from a sharp tooth, there are a few things that you can do to alleviate it before seeking assistance from the dentist. Some of them include:
Over-the-counter pain relievers
Non-prescription pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can be useful for managing sharp tooth pain. Follow the recommended dosage instructions and consult a healthcare professional or dentist if you have concerns about their usage.
Salt wanter rinse
A warm salt water rinse can help alleviate oral discomfort and reduce inflammation caused by sharp teeth. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, then rinse your mouth gently for 30 seconds before spitting it out. This method can be repeated a few times a day for relief.
Over-the-counter topical oral anesthetics can provide temporary pain relief. These products often contain benzocaine and can be applied directly to the affected area to numb it. However, ensure to follow the instructions on the product packaging.
If the sharp tooth has caused swelling or inflammation in the surrounding tissues, applying a cold compress to the outside of your cheek can help reduce pain and inflammation. Wrap the cold pack in a cloth and apply it for 15-20 minutes at a time.
Maintain oral hygiene
Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is crucial for preventing further complications. Regular brushing and flossing, as well as using a gentle mouthwash, can help keep the area clean and minimize the risk of infection.
While these methods can provide relief from sharp tooth pain, they are not long-term solutions. Consulting with a dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is essential to address the root cause of the problem and ensure your continued oral health and comfort.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Sharp Tooth?
Fixing a sharp tooth depends on the procedure involved and other factors such as:
Nevertheless, here’s an average cost of the procedures involved:
|Dental bonding||$100 to $400 per tooth|
|Dental veneers||$500 to $1,500 per tooth|
|Dental crowns||$800 to $2,500 per tooth|
|Dental fillings||$100 and $300 for small repairs|