Does a routine checkup check for tooth mobility?

Judythecat

Judythecat

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I was taking off my lipstick tonight and am sure I felt one of my lower front teeth move. Help! I had a checkup at the end of October, everything fine, and gum test scores were 0s and 1s. Would my dentist have noticed mobility as standard?

I clench, and previously clenched an upper tooth to slight mobility by essentially ramming it into my night guard, which at the time was a soft upper splint. I now have a hard lower splint. Could I have done the same? The upper tooth was apparently bordering on “grade one mobility”, but I was told by the consultant at Maxillo Facial to go off and eat a crusty baguette immediately because it was fine and going nowhere. That was in September, and I have been under their care since April for atypical facial pain. I haven’t actually bitten with my front teeth since February, when I started with pain in the upper front tooth, because I am too frightened.

I am seeing the dentist on Friday anyway as I am getting a wee false tooth to replace a missing lower molar (flexible partial denture) and will obviously ask her then.
 
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jatay1985

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They definitely do check for tooth mobility and if they don’t, ask for it ?
 
J

jatay1985

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That’s supposed to be a smiley face and not a question mark...I’m sorry lol
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

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Thanks for replying. Looking at the checkup section here it actually doesn’t mention that they do. Maybe only if there are signs of gum disease?
 
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jatay1985

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That’s very possible. I have slight gum disease but don’t have any mobility. They checked after my cleaning. If it concerns you or gets worse, I would definitely make an appointment to see your dentist
 
drhirst

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The test for mobility is to very gently try to move the tooth between two metal instruments (as opposed to fingers which are soft and not do not detect minor movement well). There is also another test where you place a finger on a tooth and ask the patient to bite together. If that tooth is being overloaded, one can feel the extra pressure on it through the finger.
On the whole, these tests are only done when a dentist notices something during the check up that suggests there may be mobility issues.
If you are worried, just mention your concerns to your dentist, I have no doubt he or she will be happy to check for you.

Lincoln
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

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The test for mobility is to very gently try to move the tooth between two metal instruments (as opposed to fingers which are soft and not do not detect minor movement well). There is also another test where you place a finger on a tooth and ask the patient to bite together. If that tooth is being overloaded, one can feel the extra pressure on it through the finger.
On the whole, these tests are only done when a dentist notices something during the check up that suggests there may be mobility issues.
If you are worried, just mention your concerns to your dentist, I have no doubt he or she will be happy to check for you.

Lincoln

Thanks for replying. I am seeing the dentist on Friday so will ask her then. She seemed to think the top one moving was no big deal and that the mobility was so slight it wasn’t an issue, which was exactly what the Max Fac consultant said. I can’t move them with my tongue or see them moving, it’s like I feel a tiny “click”. I have checked back and the checkup was 27 October with no gum issues at all.
 
Judythecat

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I am actually going insane with worry over this stupid tooth. I know my dentist said previously that my lower front teeth had unusually short roots - she likened it to someone having long fingers, or big ears, and said it was nothing I had done to cause it. It doesn't feel like it moves when I brush or floss, but I am sure I felt it shift slightly backwards last night when I put pressure on my lip.

Assuming I haven't developed rampant gum disease, causing the bone to disappear, in the last month, it has to be to do with clenching it into my night-guard. Presumably the dentist can reduce the contact point in the guard where this tooth hits it?

I have today contacted one of my former students whose mum works in alternative therapies, to ask if she might be able to recommend someone for hypnosis. I know the night guard doesn't stop me clenching.

Last night my partner said I didn't need a dentist, I needed a psychiatrist. I feel like I am going quite mad.
 
Gordon

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Your teeth are designed to move slightly all the time when you eat/clench, there's a wee ligament in place between the bone and tooth to act as a sort of shock absorber, they aren't set solidly into the jaw bones.

If you've got shorter than normal roots and you press in the right direction, then you might detect a bit of movement, however it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong, just your teeth doing what they're meant to do. Think trees in high winds :)

Yes, if you're hitting a bit hard on the bite guard it would be worth getting it adjusted, although since the guard is softer than the teeth, it'll likely self adjust in a few weeks anyway.

Yes, hypnosis and NLP are both quite helpful for clenching/grinding.
 
Judythecat

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Your teeth are designed to move slightly all the time when you eat/clench, there's a wee ligament in place between the bone and tooth to act as a sort of shock absorber, they aren't set solidly into the jaw bones.

If you've got shorter than normal roots and you press in the right direction, then you might detect a bit of movement, however it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong, just your teeth doing what they're meant to do. Think trees in high winds :)

Yes, if you're hitting a bit hard on the bite guard it would be worth getting it adjusted, although since the guard is softer than the teeth, it'll likely self adjust in a few weeks anyway.

Yes, hypnosis and NLP are both quite helpful for clenching/grinding.

You are so kind and wise, Gordon. Do you fancy coming out of retirement and being my dentist? I’m in Scotland...

When I had to get impressions for the new splint, I cried because I thought the top tooth would be left in the putty, despite my dentist saying she would eat a pack of surgical gloves if it even shifted a millimetre. I think the problem is that what is totally normal to a dentist (oh, it’s not even close to grade one mobility) can feel scary and shocking to a patient.

I have had both hypnosis and NLP before but was really resistant to “being hypnotised” - too much of a control freak! I ended up pretending and paying a small fortune because I was too embarrassed to say it just wasn’t working. I am desperate though.
 
Gordon

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Not a chance, sorry :)

I'm no expert on either hypnosis or NLP, but Mike Gow here is, you could try dropping him a PM?
 
Judythecat

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Just to update, the dentist said the tooth has movement just slightly beyond normal physiology - she said “a hair’s breadth” and not in one of the graded mobility classifications. She filed down the night guard a bit, and said the damage was reversible because there is no gum disease and x-rays done in the summer show no bone loss. (She didn’t think new x-rays would have any change given that I have never had gum problems.) I am sure she feels like crying every time she sees my face, tbh, but she is very kind and patient.
 
M

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I feel for you. I think it is especially worrisome when it is your front teeth. I am terrified of losing my front tooth, and I am super lucky to have found an amazing dentist who tells me not to worry about being paranoid and come in to get the tooth checked if I am worried. I had a root canal on it after an abscess, and am still not sure if the root canal is going to take or not. 6 weeks later and the tooth is still sore.

I would go get it checked, just for your peace of mind. Ask your dentist. I am sure they would be happy to check it out. For what it is worth, my top lateral incisor makes that "clicking" feeling if my lip pushes against it, and I haven't ever had it loose or had issues with it. I knew exactly what you were talking about when I read that. It is more of a feeling, but clicking is exactly what it feels like.
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

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I feel for you. I think it is especially worrisome when it is your front teeth. I am terrified of losing my front tooth, and I am super lucky to have found an amazing dentist who tells me not to worry about being paranoid and come in to get the tooth checked if I am worried. I had a root canal on it after an abscess, and am still not sure if the root canal is going to take or not. 6 weeks later and the tooth is still sore.

I would go get it checked, just for your peace of mind. Ask your dentist. I am sure they would be happy to check it out. For what it is worth, my top lateral incisor makes that "clicking" feeling if my lip pushes against it, and I haven't ever had it loose or had issues with it. I knew exactly what you were talking about when I read that. It is more of a feeling, but clicking is exactly what it feels like.

I actually had it checked yesterday - see my post above. I swear to god, I am almost insane with my teeth. My dentist said yesterday that I had gone over 10 years with just checkups and cleans every six months, then 18 months of problems. I kind of accept that this is my life now, which is infuriating after always taking care of my teeth, never missing a checkup, and having any treatment needed immediately! I really hope your tooth settles soon.
 
M

MountainMama

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I actually had it checked yesterday - see my post above. I swear to god, I am almost insane with my teeth. My dentist said yesterday that I had gone over 10 years with just checkups and cleans every six months, then 18 months of problems. I kind of accept that this is my life now, which is infuriating after always taking care of my teeth, never missing a checkup, and having any treatment needed immediately! I really hope your tooth settles soon.

I don't know how I missed your last post...sorry! I know exactly how you feel though. I am the same way. I had almost 15 years with just cleanings, and then all these issues. The financial strain is hard as well.

I am also at the stage of acceptance. It is super frustrating though. At my follow up with my oral surgeon, after the last extraction he commented that I have impeccable dental hygiene. I replied that it hasn't done me much good this year.
 
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