- Mobile Teeth

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Friday, 23 February 2018  

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Mobile Teeth PDF Print E-mail

A tooth is considered mobile if it feels loose and wiggles in its place when pushed or held by fingers. Fingers however, are not considered reliable for detecting mild to moderate movements. Dentists have probing instruments that may diagnose tooth mobility more accurately. There is usually an accompanying discomfort when the tooth is severely mobile. Teeth mobility may be caused by either disease or injury to the surrounding gum and the supporting bone of the teeth.


  • Infection/Inflammation of Gums and periodontal fibers: Gums become inflamed due to accumulation of plaque containing bacteria on tooth surfaces near the gumline. The bacteria cause the gums to swell-up and become prone to bleeding. This condition is called gingivitis. If not treated, this may continue to progress and involve the tooth-supporting fibers and bone. It may continue to develop into a more severe form of gum disease called Periodontitis. Inflammation and destruction of bone, affects the foundation on which the teeth stand therefore causing mobility.
  • Traumatic bite: If there is an increased amount and uneven forces transmitted to certain teeth during chewing, these teeth may be traumatized causing some supporting fibers and bone to get destroyed causing mobility.
  • Some tumors and infections of the bone can cause destruction of the supporting architecture of the tooth.
  • Blunt injury to the tooth can also cause looseness of teeth.

What can you do?

  • Avoid chewing/biting on the mobile tooth.
  • If there is an accompanying severe pain, consult your dentist immediately. Over the counter pain killers may help if an immediate dental visit is not possible. But if the cause is severe infection, pain relievers are not enough.
  • If due to an accident/injury an immediate dental visit is also a must.
  • After thorough professional cleaning and gum treatment by your dentist has been done and still the tooth is mobile, proper and strict oral hygiene should be maintained. Adjuncts like toothbrushes, oral rinses, flosses, interdental (in-between teeth) brushes will help maintain clean tooth and root surfaces as well as healthy and firm gums.

What can your dentist do?


  • If caused by severe bone infections or tumors, treatment options may vary. The tooth may have to be extracted in severe cases.
  • If caused by injury, the tooth will have to be repositioned to its normal place and then immobilized (splinted or attached to a strong tooth beside it for support). It will then be evaluated to see if a root canal treatment is needed.
  • Gum treatment and cleaning the mobile tooth of all bacterial sources may reduce mobility to a certain extent. Professional cleaning may involve deep parts of the mobile tooth’s root surfaces (deep cleaning or root planing).
  • Teeth which are very loose and which move in all directions including vertical movement (bounces up and down) may not last and may have to be extracted (bunot).



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