If you have a tooth that has been moved from its usual position, but still remains attached, this is known as luxation, or tooth displacement. This can happen to both permanent and baby teeth, and is a somewhat common concern for dental patients. If your tooth got knocked out of position, there are a number of things you should know to prevent further damage.
Types of Tooth Displacement
There are three main types of tooth displacement:
- Intrusion – the tooth has been pushed up into the gum, making it appear shorter than normal.
- Extrusion – The tooth has pulled out of its normal position, making it appear longer than normal.
- Lateral displacement – the tooth has been pushed either behind or in front of your usual row of teeth.
Symptoms of Tooth Displacement
Spotting that a tooth got knocked out of position is generally easy, because the tooth position will appear to have changed. Additionally, the tooth may become loose as well. Other symptoms of tooth displacement include discomfort or pain, bleeding, and swelling in the gums around the tooth. In some cases, you may also experience some facial swelling and tooth discoloration as well.
Diagnosing Tooth Displacement
When diagnosing a tooth displacement, your dentist will ask you about your symptoms, and about any oral trauma you may have experienced. They will also examine your teeth carefully for any chips in the tooth or cuts around the gums. They may also attempt to wiggle the tooth to check if it has become loose. Your bite will also be examined, as will your gum and bone tissue. To ensure that the tooth nerve is still vital, something cold or hot will be placed on the tooth (this ensures you still have sensation in the tooth).
Treating Tooth Displacement
Treatment of your tooth displacement will depend on the type of displacement you’ve experienced, and whether your tooth is an adult tooth or a baby tooth. In the case of an extrusion or lateral displacement of a baby tooth, the tooth may need to be extracted. If a permanent tooth has experienced this type of displacement, your dentist will attempt to reposition the tooth. Once this is successful, the tooth will be held in place with a dental splint for up to two weeks in order to keep the tooth in place.
In an intrusion of a baby tooth, it will simply be allowed to grow back out on its own. However, if the dentist determines that the tooth may harm the permanent tooth underneath, it will be removed. In the case of a permanent tooth intrusion, it may be repositioned through dental surgery, or left to grow back out on its own.
What You Should Do At Home
Once your tooth has been repositioned, you will need to take special care to brush your teeth gently for a few weeks. You will also need to make sure that you take any medications that your dentist has prescribed as directed in order to prevent infection. Try to avoid chewing with the affected tooth whenever possible for the next few weeks, and keep careful watch for signs of infection (swelling, redness, etc). Follow up with your dentist as recommended.