Displaced Tooth Clinical Presentation

Updated: Dec 29, 2020
  • Author: Lynnus F Peng, MD; Chief Editor: Anil P Punjabi, MD, DDS  more...
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Constant or spontaneous pain in traumatized teeth may indicate injury to the pulp, periodontal ligament, or supporting bone. [7]

Lateral displacement

Tooth may be mobile or firm but is displaced facially or lingually. [7]

Axial displacement [7]

  • Extrusion injury: Patient may complain of mobility or malaligned teeth.

  • Intrusion injury: Patient may complain of pain; patient has malalignment or no sense of mobility. This type of displacement has the worst prognosis. [8]


Physical Examination


Evaluate surrounding soft tissue area for laceration, discoloration, ecchymosis, and embedded foreign bodies (eg, chipped teeth). Use of radiographs to locate tooth fragments inside the lip is appropriate. [9, 10, 11]

In cases of tooth crown fractures, checking the lip for possible tooth fragments is important. Manual palpitation and radiographic screening of the affected lip help with detection of any foreign objects. [9, 10]

When checking displaced tooth, ensure that the soft tissue is not removed or scraped from the tooth prior to reimplanation. [9]

Evaluate teeth for fractures, chips, and other deformities. Embedded tooth fragments may lead to chronic infection or fibrosis. [9]


Evaluate if tooth is mobile or if an entire segment is mobile. [9]

If possible, have patients bite down to further localize suspected area.

Percussion and sensitivity

Percuss tooth with a tongue blade to evaluate sensitivity. [9]

Sensitivity to thermal stimuli may help to indicate status of the pulp. Lingering pain to temperature indicates irreversible pulpitis. Short duration of pain (< 5 seconds) indicates better recovery potential for the pulp.