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Tooth mobility is usually loosening of tooth within its socket. The gingiva around loosened tooth is usually swollen and red. There are multiple factors and causes of tooth mobility.

Cause and effects of tooth mobility

Its greatest contributor is plaque accumulation. Buildup of plaque and calculus is indication of poor oral hygiene and incorrect brushing technique. As a result, plaque gets harder over time and become tartar, which is difficult to remove with manual tooth brushing and require professional cleaning of teeth. Usually this buildup of tartar and calculus is home to many bacteria, which causes detrimental changes to attached gingiva. As long as it remains there, gingiva will remain red and swollen, since its causing continuous damage to gums. Without proper oral hygiene habits, calculus increase progressively in quantity causing the gums to move downward and creating more space for buildup of calculus. With time, this calculus results in loosening of teeth because supporting structure of teeth gradually recede and worsen in condition. If conditions remain the same, then a time will come when the tooth will only be supported by this calculus and gingiva will lose its attachment. This condition is accompany by bone loss, that form socket around tooth, eventually resulting in the loss of tooth. Some other causes of tooth mobility can be traumatic bite as a result of mal aligned teeth, which is causing continuous trauma to periodontium of teeth. Another cause is parafunctional habits, which include night grinding, unconscious clenching and chewing and bruxism.

How to prevent tooth loss

With proper hygiene, tooth loss can be prevented. When a person realizes accumulation of hard tartar around the margins of tooth, immediate consideration should be given to remove it with professional cleaning, scaling and root planning.

Grading of tooth mobility greatly defines the success of procedure. Normally tooth is attached to bone with periodontal ligaments, so there is natural and physiologic tooth mobility of up to 0.25mm.

There are three grades of tooth mobility.

Grade 1 is 1-2 mm tooth mobility. This can be reversed by professional scaling, polishing and maintenance for at least 1 month at home. After scaling at home, maintenance includes:

  • brushing twice a day for 3 mins with soft tooth brush;
  • flossing daily with proper technique;
  • use of mouth wash twice a day.

Grade 2 is tooth mobility greater than 2 mm, without vertical movement of tooth. This grade requires a more extensive procedure, other than the one mentioned for Grade 1. Splinting of teeth to adjacent healthy and normal teeth may be effective in this case. Scaling, polishing, deep curettage and root planning is necessary. Antibiotics may be given to alter the pathogenic flora to normal flora. Success of Grade 2 mobility depends on meticulous oral hygiene. In Grade 1 and Grade 2, chances of return to former stability are quite high.

Grade 3 is tooth mobility greater than 3 mm. Tooth is mobile in all planes and move vertically in its socket. Such a tooth is difficult to save and eventually lead to extraction.

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