Loose teeth are termed as mobile teeth. Mobility of teeth in its normal fulcrum helps to accommodate chewing forces without damaging the teeth.
Assessing the mobility of teeth:
Mobility of teeth is graded clinically by applying pressure with dental mirrors and rocking the tooth in the bucco-lingual direction.
In normal present health the permissible mobility of tooth is about 0.25 mm. The periodontal ligament connects the tooth to its socket. Deciduous teeth loosen naturally as part of the exfoliation process. The resorption of roots is gradual with underlying development of permanent teeth in its place.
Classifications of mobility:
As an indicator of bone loss surrounding the tooth, its mobility is classified as follows:
Class 0 stable tooth normal physiological movement
Class I movement of tooth is 0.5 mm lingually and buccally
Class II – movement is > 1 mm buccolingually and mesiodistally tooth cannot be depressed apicocoronally
Class III terminal mobility of tooth movement is > 1 mm buccolingually and mesiodistally tooth can be depressed apicocoronally.
Dr. Sudhakar Reddy identifies the following causes for mobility of teeth:
Trauma Traumatic injury to teeth can damage supporting tissues and can cause mobile teeth
Dental alveolar bone recession Severe gum disease leads to a receding dental alveolar bone and subsequent loss of tooth support
Inflammation tissues around the tooth are inflamed due to gum disease causing an abscess and loosening the tooth
Root resorption a deciduous tooth always has a permanent succeeding tooth growing under it eruption of permanent tooth can cause mobility of milk or deciduous teeth
Dr. Sudhakar Reddy treats mobile teeth with splinting:
Few or more teeth are joined together to arrest their mobility. Ideal conditions for splinting are after treatment of avulsed teeth, after an orthodontic treatment or after a periodontal treatment. By fixing mobile teeth together, the underlying reason for tooth mobility is addressed and giving a chance for bone to form around the tooth. Glass fibres are used to bind teeth together and the invisible colour gives teeth a more aesthetic appearance.