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J Contemp Dent Pract. 2002 Nov 15;3(4):10-22.

A review of the clinical management of mobile teeth.

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Loma Linda University, School of Dentistry, CA, USA.


The clinical management of mobile teeth can be a perplexing problem, especially if the underlying causes for that mobility have not been properly diagnosed. In some cases, mobile teeth are retained because patients decline multidisciplinary treatment that might otherwise include strategic extractions. This article discusses the relationship between occlusion and tooth mobility with an emphasis on identifying differences between increased mobility and increasing mobility. The indications, contraindications, and basic principles of tooth splinting are also reviewed. Provisional and definitive splints are defined and described with their respective occlusal considerations. Some mobile teeth can be treated through occlusal equilibration alone (primary occlusal trauma). Whereas mobile teeth with a compromised periodontium can be stabilized with the aid of provisional and/or definitive splinting (secondary occlusal trauma). It is important to consider splint therapy, because it may not only improve the prognosis of teeth, but may actually enhance the stability of the final prosthodontic treatment. The ultimate goal of successful management of mobile teeth is to restore function and comfort by establishing a stable occlusion that promotes tooth retention and the maintenance of periodontal health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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