Multiple reasons require a rapid visit to the dentist. One of the top reasons for a dental visit is toothache or severe pain that may result from various reasons, including dental caries that have reached out to the pulp and may progress to form swelling, pus and sometimes fever. In addition, you may experience pain due to teeth sensitivity which may be directly related to a jagged or chipped tooth that you didn’t notice before. Jagged teeth mean the presence of irregularities on the teeth surface. You may take painkillers as a temporary solution, but ideally, you should see your dentist as soon as you experience this pain or realise an abnormality.
Causes of jagged teeth
The jagged bumps that may have appeared on your child’s permanent teeth are called mamelons. These protrusions, which appear as a series of bumps or ridges, are uneven because they are part of the developmental lobes of teeth. Mamelons appear on your child's teeth because the genetic code caused the teeth to develop them. You probably had mamelons, too. Mamelons can be advantageous to young children because they can help with teething and chewing.1
Trauma or injury
Dental trauma is considereda well-known cause of jagged teeth. It may occur in both permanent and primary teeth. Tooth breakdown may result from motor vehicle accidents, sports especially boxing or karate, and domestic violence. The severity of the case depends on the extent of the broken part. The chipped part may extend to the enamel (the first protective layer of the tooth), dentine, or to the tooth pulp resulting in severe sensitivity.2
Bruxism or clenching habits may lead to headaches, a sore jaw, and developing tooth cracks or jagged teeth. This is because of the grinding action that may take place while sleeping or you are not conscious even during the daytime.3
Misalignment or malocclusion may increase the risk of developing chipped or cracked teeth. This occurs because misalignment leads to improper bitting, which creates further unfavourable forces and stresses along the tooth structure and may eventually result in tooth breakdown.4
Tooth decay results from poor oral hygiene associated with the consumption of high sugar-content foods. It happens due to plaque accumulation on the tooth surface which is mainly formed by bacteria. If the teeth are not regularly brushed or flossed following meals, bacteria will spread out through saliva and produce acids that are responsible for dissolving of enamel surface.
Symptoms of jagged teeth
Uneven teeth edges
Patients may experience sharp enamel edges, which may cause an unpleasant appearance or harm the soft tissues.
Patients may experience pain when drinking hot or cold liquids.
Patients may complain of pain whenbiting on a particular tooth, which occurs with foods of small and hard particles.
Pain or discomfort in the mouth
This happens when caries (tooth decay) extend to the pulp resulting in inflammation and severe pain associated with swelling.
Swelling and bleeding of the gums may occur when the broken part extends to or underneath the gingiva (gum).
Diagnosis of jagged teeth
Jagged teeth can be diagnosed by visual inspection. However, the extent of the cracks is not visible without the aid of magnifying loupes or microscopes. The clinical examination includes,
- Determination of the pulpal status
- And the presence of facets on the occlusal surfaces of teeth, which indicates the presence of abnormal destructive forces or periodontal problems.
X-rays help in the determination of the extent of tooth decay, pulpal status, and periodontal health. In addition, it provides knowledge about the history of previous fillings, existing spacing, or misalignment of teeth.5
It can be performed using orangewood sticks, tooth slooth, and cotton wool rolls. Patients are asked to bite on cotton rolls and suddenly release the pressure. Pain perceived on sudden release of pressure confirms the diagnosis and indicates the presence of the crack in the suspected tooth.6
Treatment of jagged teeth
Sometimes the chipped part is small; thus, it is adjusted byenameloplasty. It is a technique used to remove the sharp portion of the broken enamel aiming to provide a natural shape and smooth appearance. In addition, when cracks are found in teeth with improper alignment, occlusal adjustment is needed to decrease the effect of harmful forces.10
You may need to extract a tooth when the crack is extensive and cannot be treated by any of the previous treatments. At this point, the tooth should be extracted and replaced using an implant or fixed restoration.
Prevention of jagged teeth
Regular dental check-ups
It is advised to visit the dentist regularly to monitor oral health status and seek advice or treatment. The dentist can find out the early signs of tooth wear or chipping by getting information about your routine diet, acid-containing food, bad habits such as nail biting, and technique of toothbrushing.
If you are suffering from long-term bruxism or practising violent sports, youmay need to consult yourdentist to use night guards or athletic mouthguards. They can prevent tooth chipping by dividing the force along the tooth axis and decreasing bruxism frequency. They should be worn continuously to avoid triggering muscle activity.
Brushing and flossing regularly
Routine dental care will help in avoiding dental caries. It's advisable to maintain good oral hygiene habits to prevent dental plaque formation and limit bacterial action in developing new carious lesions. This could be done through brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouth wash.
Avoiding hard and chewy foods
Patients are advised to
- Avoid hard food such as nuts, ice cubes, and hard bread bites
- Develop healthy chewing habits
- Follow a proper diet
- Jagged teeth are common in children
- They develop due to many causes related to genetics, injury, or poor oral hygiene
- Diagnosis can include dental examination, X-rays, and bite analysis
- Several techniques are available to correct jagged teeth based on the case severity. These techniques range from dental bonding to adjusting small fractures; to tooth extraction for extensive cracks
- It is always advisable to consult your dentist to find the best treatment for you
- Chegini-Farahini S, Fuss J, Townsend G. Intra- and inter-population variability in mamelon expression on incisor teeth. DAJ [Internet]. 2000 [cited 2023 Aug 7];14(3):1–6. Available from: https://journal.dentalanthropology.org
- American Association of Endodontists [Internet]. [cited 2023 Aug 7]. Traumatic dental injuries faq. Available from: https://www.aae.org/patients/dental-symptoms/traumatic-dental-injuries/
- Goldstein RE. Cosmetic contouring. In: Goldstein RE, Chu SJ, Lee EA, Stappert CFJ, editors. Ronald E Goldstein’s Esthetics in Dentistry [Internet]. Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2018 [cited 2023 Aug 7]. p. 295–323. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781119272946.ch11
- Claudino D, Traebert J. Malocclusion, dental aesthetic self-perception and quality of life in a 18 to 21 year-old population: a cross section study. BMC Oral Health [Internet]. 2013 Jan 7 [cited 2023 Aug 7];13:3. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3556057/
- Guo J, Wu Y, Chen L, Long S, Chen D, Ouyang H, et al. A perspective on the diagnosis of cracked tooth: imaging modalities evolve to AI-based analysis. BioMed Eng OnLine [Internet]. 2022 Jun 15 [cited 2023 Aug 7];21(1):36. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12938-022-01008-
- Mathew S, Thangavel B, Mathew CA, Kailasam S, Kumaravadivel K, Das A. Diagnosis of cracked tooth syndrome. J Pharm Bioallied Sci [Internet]. 2012 Aug [cited 2023 Aug 7];4(Suppl 2):S242–4. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3467890/
- Haddad MF, Rocha EP, Assunção WG. Cementation of prosthetic restorations: from conventional cementation to dental bonding concept. Journal of Craniofacial Surgery [Internet]. 2011 May [cited 2023 Aug 7];22(3):952. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/jcraniofacialsurgery/Abstract/2011/05000/Cementation_of_Prosthetic_Restorations__From.43.aspx
- Alothman Y, Bamasoud MS. The success of dental veneers according to preparation design and material type. Open Access Maced J Med Sci [Internet]. 2018 Dec 14 [cited 2023 Aug 7];6(12):2402–8. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6311473/
- Tamer İ, Öztaş E, Marşan G. Orthodontic treatment with clear aligners and the scientific reality behind their marketing: a literature review. Turk J Orthod [Internet]. 2019 Dec 1 [cited 2023 Aug 7];32(4):241–6. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7018497/
- Sarver DM. Enameloplasty and esthetic finishing in orthodontics-identification and treatment of microesthetic features in orthodontics part 1: enameloplasty and esthetic finishing. Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry [Internet]. 2011 Oct [cited 2023 Aug 7];23(5):296–302. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1708-8240.2011.00446.x