A luxated tooth happens when the tissues, ligaments and sometimes bone that support your tooth become injured. Trauma, such as falls and accidents, can lead to tooth luxation. Symptoms and treatments vary depending on the type of luxation. With regular monitoring by your dentist, you may be able to keep your tooth.
Tooth luxation occurs when trauma, such as a fall, disrupts the tissues, ligaments and bone that hold a tooth in place. Tooth luxation can also affect the tooth’s nerves and blood supply.
A luxated tooth is sometimes loose, angled or moved out of the socket. Sometimes a luxated tooth has no noticeable signs but feels tender.
Luxated teeth are most common in children and young adults, although anybody can have tooth luxation. If you suspect a luxated tooth, see a dentist right away. You may need immediate treatment, depending on the severity of the luxation.
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Teeth consist of two parts:
Both the crown and root consist of several layers:
Your tooth sits within the alveolar bone, the part of the jaw that holds the tooth sockets. Connective tissue fibers called periodontal ligaments attach the root of your tooth to the alveolar bone.
Tooth luxations affect the periodontal ligaments and alveolar bone. They can also lead to pulp damage. Treatment for a luxated tooth depends on which tooth structure is injured and how severe it is.
Tooth luxations occur frequently in children and young adults. Though dental trauma can happen at any age, most occurs in kids ages 11 to 15. Luxation makes up 18% to 33% of injuries to permanent teeth in the United States.
Dental trauma also accounts for 18% of all injuries to children up to age 6. Luxation of primary teeth makes up 21% to 81% of all dental injuries. Males have tooth luxation more often than females do.
Damaging a tooth’s tissues and ligaments requires a large amount of force. In young children, falls are the most common cause of luxated teeth. For people of all ages, other causes of tooth luxation include:
Luxated tooth symptoms depend on the type of tooth luxation. Symptoms may include:
To diagnose a luxated tooth, your provider asks about your symptoms and what caused the possible tooth luxation. They also ask about any trauma or injury you’ve experienced.
For a thorough evaluation of your teeth, you’ll need to see a dentist. They ask about your dental history.
After that, your dentist may:
Tooth luxations can range from mild to serious. The five types of luxated teeth, in order of severity, are:
You can’t treat a luxated tooth by yourself. To treat a luxated tooth, you need to visit a dentist or endodontist. An endodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on dental pulp and root issues.
Treatment for a luxated tooth depends on the type of luxation you have. Sometimes your dental provider may recommend not repairing a luxated tooth at all.
During tooth luxation treatment, your dentist aims to stabilize your tooth. They also want to monitor and maintain the health of the pulp. The treatments for each type of tooth luxation include:
Concussion: You may not need any treatment. Your dentist will regularly check your pulp for at least one year.
Subluxation: You may not need any treatment. If you have pain when chewing, your dentist may splint your luxated tooth to the surrounding teeth to help stabilize the tooth.
Your dentist will regularly monitor your tooth with X-rays and exams. They will check the condition of your pulp for at least a year.
Extrusive luxation: Your dentist will clean your root with saline solution. They will reposition your tooth back into the socket.
You may need a splint for about two weeks to stabilize your tooth. If your pulp has been injured, you may need a root canal. During a root canal, your dentist or endodontist removes your pulp. They then clean the tooth before filling and sealing it.
Lateral luxation: Your dentist will remove your tooth from the socket. They then use forceps to reposition it back into the socket.
You will need a flexible splint for about four weeks. After that, your dentist will monitor your pulp. You’ll need checkups after two months, three months, six months and one year. After that, your dentist should check your tooth yearly for at least five years. At any of these times, you may need a root canal if your pulp shows signs of inflammation or dying (necrosis).
Intrusive luxation: Your dentist may leave your tooth alone to see if it moves back into place. If your tooth hasn’t moved back into place in one month, you may need surgery to reposition it. Another reason for surgery is if your tooth has been pushed more than 7 millimeters into the socket.
You’ll need a splint for at least four weeks after surgery. Splints support your tooth while it heals by attaching it to one tooth on either side. Splints may be made of wire, metal or resin.
You may also need a root canal two to four weeks following surgery, if your pulp becomes inflamed or dies. You’ll also need checkups after two months, three months, six months and one year. After that, your dentist should check your tooth each year for at least five years.
To help protect your tooth after repair, you should:
You’ll also need to visit your dentist for regular checkups. Your dentist will monitor the luxation over time to make sure it doesn’t get worse. This follow-up is especially important for a minor luxation that didn’t need initial treatment.
Many times, a luxated tooth is an accident. You can reduce the chances of a luxated tooth by:
Prompt treatment of a luxated tooth can preserve your original tooth. Good dental hygiene and regular checkups can help extend the life of your tooth.
Your tooth may still serve you for many years, but providers can’t predict how long your tooth may last. Many complications can affect repaired teeth, including:
You should see your provider about a luxated tooth if you experience:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Tooth luxation happens when the structures that support your tooth become injured. If you suspect a luxated tooth, you should see a dentist for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Treatments for tooth luxation vary depending on the type and seriousness of the injury. If you continue to see your dentist for checkups and monitoring, your repaired tooth can last for years.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/30/2021.
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