Ever received a sharp blow to the mouth? It can hurt, and can even be a little embarrassing, depending on the context of the accident. Sure, a mild blow to the mouth is unlikely to cause any dental trauma, but a particularly forceful impact could result in some problems for your teeth. Dental subluxation is when a tooth has become loose due to an accident, while still remaining held by the tooth socket. When a deciduous (or baby) tooth becomes loose, it's hardly a cause for alarm, but when an adult tooth becomes mobile within its socket after an accident, it can be a dental emergency.
A loose tooth is the most common sign of dental subluxation, but the increased mobility of the tooth might not be immediately evident after trauma to the site. The displacement of the tooth can result in extensive bleeding from the surrounding tissue, and from within the gingival sulcus itself. Additional pain and discomfort can also often be expected, depending on the severity of the trauma.
Prompt action is needed to save a tooth with sudden increased mobility, but other checks will be needed. An x-ray will often be utilised to check for any jaw fractures. Non-dental treatment can be required in severe cases, such as when a skull fracture might be suspected. Dizziness and a loss of consciousness after the accident can warrant additional checks. When it's solely the tooth that is in jeopardy, an immediate visit to the dentist is required. If your usual dentist cannot see you, or if it's out of regular working hours, go to an emergency dentist without delay. Untreated dental subluxation can ultimately result in the loss of the tooth, and this is in addition to the pain and discomfort associated with the condition.
Stabilising the Tooth
The dentist will control the bleeding while checking for any secondary injuries. The tooth must also be stabilised, and this will depend upon its level of mobility. A dental splint might be applied to force the tooth into a rigid position while it stabilises itself, and certain dietary changes will be needed to encourage this process. Soft foods will be recommended during the healing process in order to minimise any pressure on the tooth. Follow up visits are necessary to check the progress of the tooth's stabilisation.
Dental subluxation can be a traumatic experience, but with speedy treatment, that mobile tooth should become stable once again.