Shaking Teeth Causes

The causes of Shaking Teeth may differ from person to person. Several causes of this visible deterioration of teeth have been clinically found. The most important task in dealing with mobile teeth is to first convince the patient of the necessity of seeking professional dental help. The most prominent and common causes of mobile teeth are given below.



  • Trauma for Occlusion (TFO) is a common cause of tooth mobility. Mobility produced by TFO occurs initially as a result of resorption of the cortical layer of bone, leading to reduced fiber support and later as an adaptation, phenomenon resulting in a widened PDL space.
  • Traumatic forces can be induced by habits, dental appliance, dental procedures, and traumatic impact.
  • The increased tooth mobility recorded at an over loaded tooth often includes a phase of progressive [“developing”] and in the dog [Svanberg 1974] and in monkey [Polson 1976]. Svanberg 1974 reported that certain characteristic histologic findings in the “Developing phase” of tooth mobility.
    • Enlargement of PDL space.
    • Osteoclastic alveolar bone resorption.
    • Vascular alteration and degenerative phenomena in the PDL membrane and
    • Reduced number of collagen fibers inserting in the root cementum, in the
    • Alveolar bone proper and in the crest.
  • Neidetal 1992 conducted a study on dog. In this study, the mandibular premolars were for 90 days exposed to jiggling forces and found that there were qualitative changes in the composition of the supracrectal connective tissue which exhibited an increased amount of vascular structures and a reduced contact of collagens.
  • On the other hand, in the “Permanent Phase” widened PDL space persisted but neither sign of active bone resorption and acute inflammatory lesion in the PDL membrane nor evidence of connective tissue attachment loss could be demonstrated [Svanberg 1974]
  • However, other investigators did not find assocoiation between occlusal disharmonies and increased severity of periodontitis [or] tooth mobility.
  • Increased tooth mobility is a common symptom also of advanced forms of plaque associated periodontal disease [Muhlemann 1960 and Svensson 1980]. The amount of mobility depends on the severity and distribution of bone loss at individual root surfaces, and the length and shape of the roots. A tooth with short tapered roots is more likely to loosen than one with normal size [or] bulbous roots with the same amount of bone loss.
  • Ericsson and Lindhe [1984] in an animal experiment induced periodontal tissue breakdown and observed that loss of connective attachment and alveolar bone were symptoms that occurred concomitant with increased tooth mobility. The authors concluded that the increased tooth mobility “… was mainly the result of the apical displacement of the alveolar bone margin and of the corresponding apical shift of the fulcrum of the movement of the crown of the teeth in the tooth mobility measurement.”
  • Persson and Svensson [1980] performed tooth mobility measurements in periodontally healthy and diseased individuals using a loading/sensing device. Their results showed that individuals with periodontal disease had longer and more varying tooth displacement values than healthy subjects. It was concluded that the hypermobility recorded at sites with reduced and diseased periodontium was not only due to the loss of alveolar bone but, most probably, also to the associated quantitative and qualitative alteration in the PDL and supraalveolar soft tissue.
  • Muhlemann [1960 1967] observed that at periodontally compromised teeth both the ITM and STM value were elevated. The author suggested that qualitative alterations in the periodontal membrane might contribute more to the tooth mobility alterations than quantitative changes in the bone level.
  • Schulte et al (1992) examined the relationship between tooth mobility assessed by means of the periotest [PV score] and some indices of periodontal diseases. The results showed that P.V score was highly correlated with bone loss, followed by probing pocket depth and there was no correlation with papillary bleeding index. This shows that subject with gingivitis, tooth mobility scores were within normal range.
Extension of inflammation from the gingiva or from the periapex into the periodontal ligament results in changes that increase tooth mobility. The spread of inflammation from an acute periapical abscess may increase tooth mobility in the absence of periodontal disease.
Tooth mobility is increased in pregnancy and is sometimes associated with the menstrual cycle or the use of hormonal contraceptives. It occurs in patients with or without periodontal disease, presumably because of physico chemical changes in the periodontal tissues.
Pathologic processes of the jaws that destroy the alveolar bone and / or the roots of the teeth can also results in mobility eg: osteomyelitis and tumors.
Grant, [1995] suggested that pockets around mobile teeth harbor higher proportion of Campylobacter rectus and Peptostreptococus micros and possibly of Porphyromonas gingivalis than non-mobile teeth. Authors hypothesized that a possibly altered ecology in a periodontal pocket due to occlusal trauma provide an environment favorable for the growth of certain periodontopathic species. Further research is needed on the role of selected pathogens in periodontal breakdown in mobile teeth.
Any accidental injury may lead to shaking of teeth.