There are three main ways in which a tooth can be lost. It can be dental exfoliation (the natural loss of a baby tooth due to the eruption of an adult tooth). It could be due to decay, although in this case the tooth may be progressively lost in fragments. It could also be because of an accident where the tooth is knocked out by blunt force. But an accident that affects the teeth won't necessarily dislodge a tooth. The tooth's supporting structure may be affected, meaning the tooth is now in danger of being lost (and may already be loose). This is known as tooth luxation, and there's nothing luxurious about it.
Damage to Your Dental Pulp
Any trauma to the tooth may not be immediately obvious. Even when there's seemingly no damage to the tooth (an absence of pain, with no bleeding), the tooth should still be examined. Tooth luxation can affect the tooth's pulp (its nerve), which may be bruised. Your dentist will wish to assess your dental pulp, as excessive trauma can lead to inflammation, which often warrants a root canal. Your dentist may also wish to examine you at regular intervals in the coming months to ensure that your pulp remains vital. Should the tooth begin to hurt or become discolored, please see a dentist immediately.
When the Tooth Is at Risk
More serious cases of luxation are likely to be immediately noticeable. The tooth may be painful and bleeding at its base (indicating subluxation, which is damage to the tooth's periodontal ligaments and tissues). This may also be lateral luxation, when the tooth has taken on a new angle, due to damage to the portion of the jaw holding the dental socket known as the alveolar ridge. In both of these forms of luxation, the tooth will not be loose. These types of dental luxations are very serious, and you're likely to lose the tooth without urgent dental care.
Securing a Luxated Tooth
This care will often involve the tooth being splinted to its neighbors. This stabilizes the tooth and allows its root system to repair itself. After this time, the splint can be removed. You will also require periodic assessment of your dental pulp, to ensure it hasn't become inflamed, which means a root canal will be needed to save the tooth.
The severity and potential danger of dental luxation can vary widely. In mild cases, no treatment will be needed, other than regularly examining the tooth to gauge its recovery. However, sometimes more urgent measures are needed to prevent the loss of the tooth.