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Tooth Lateral Luxation

When it comes to dental trauma, a tooth luxation can be one of the most frightening things to experience, particularly if it’s affecting a permanent tooth. We’ll explore the lateral luxation of a tooth in greater depth, from symptoms and causes to diagnosis and treatment options.

Definition

There are a couple of different types of tooth luxation. From least to most serious, they include:

  • Concussion: Where the tooth reacts to being tapped but doesn’t move or dislodge from its original position.
  • Subluxation: Where the tooth is loose, often with some bleeding, but not dislodged.
  • Extrusion: Where the tooth is pushed further out of its socket.
  • Intrusion: Where the tooth is knocked further into the socket.
  • Lateral: Where the tooth is displaced within the socket, i.e. knocked to the side. It’s often accompanied by fractures to the alveolar bone, and in most cases, the tooth will actually be forced into the bone.

Symptoms

The lateral luxation of a tooth is generally quite easy to spot, purely from a visual aspect. If the tooth has been forced into the bone, it will lock into its new position.  This means that it won’t move around or be particularly tender or painful to touch. However, there is likely to be a sensation of mild pain during any sort of clinical examination of the tooth. If you do suffer from a tooth luxation, it’s important that you seek expert treatment from a dentist as soon as possible.

Causes

The most common cause of a tooth luxation is dental trauma. This can mean virtually anything, including:

  • Sporting injuries
  • Accidental falls
  • Trauma resulting from violence
  • Bicycle falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents

So, whether you’ve been hit in the face by a hockey stick or fallen off a motorcycle, any sufficient amount of force can cause a tooth luxation.

Diagnosis

After you visit a dentist, you’ll experience several different assessments and diagnostic tests to work out whether you’ve suffered from a tooth luxation:

  • The dentist will check to see whether there’s been a displacement by checking visually.
  • A percussive test will be carried out. If a metallic sound is produced, it may indicate a lateral luxation.
  • Radiographic tests will examine whether the periodontal ligament space has been widened, one of the key markers of a lateral tooth luxation.
  • A sensibility test will be given in order to assess the risk of complications during the healing process of your tooth luxation. If the results are positive, the chances of pulp death (which can lead to either root canal surgery or extraction) are much reduced.

After you’ve been diagnosed as having a tooth luxation, you’ll be able to receive treatment from your dentist.

Treatment options

Lateral luxation of a tooth can be treated in a few different ways:

  • The tooth and mouth area will need to be cleaned and sterilized.
  • The dentist will reposition the tooth by hand.
  • The tooth will be stabilized using a flexible type of splint. You’ll generally have to wear the splint for around four weeks, after which it will be removed by the dentist.
  • If the tooth’s pulp has started to die, then a root canal treatment may be needed in order to save the tooth.
  • In the most extreme instances of tooth luxation, however, the tooth will need to be extracted in order to stop infections spreading to other areas of your mouth, gums, and bone.

Immediately after treatment, it’s probably worth sticking to soft foods for a couple of weeks, as well as maintaining excellent oral healthcare. In the long term, you’ll need to receive regular check-ups from your dentist. Your check-ups will include both clinical and radiographic examinations, and you’ll need to have regular check ups for up to five years after your tooth luxation.

Think that you’re suffering from a lateral tooth luxation? Get in touch with 1-800-DENTIST to book your next appointment with a local dentist.