The dictionary meaning of ankylosis is abnormal adhesion and abnormal fusion of bones leading to stiffening and immobility in a joint. Our teeth are placed in the sockets of jawbone. They are not directly attached to the jawbone, but are anchored in the socket with the help of tissues and ligaments.
Most of the time, the condition is observed in children, but sometimes an adult can also be affected. There are no specific reasons for this condition but according to researchers, trauma to the jawbone may be one of the causes. In most cases ankylosis of teeth remains asymptomatic and it is detected only during routine oral examination. Below are given causes, symptoms and treatment of ankylosis of teeth.
What Causes Dental Ankylosis?
Though there is no definite cause that can be pinpointed for development of ankylosis of teeth, there are host of triggering factors.
- Infection in the tooth and jaw bone. It is common in gum disease or due to an injury to the tooth.
- Abnormal bone metabolism can give rise to ankylosis of teeth. This is caused due to abnormality in jaw bone.
- Heredity and genetics also play a crucial role in development of ankylosis of teeth.
- When there is constant pressure of tongue on the tooth.
- Formation of a space between membranes that surrounds the tooth.
Symptoms Of Ankylosis Of Teeth
In humans there are two sets of teeth. The first set of teeth is primary teeth which develop during childhood. The first set is temporary teeth which ultimately fall off and make way for permanent teeth. These permanent teeth are also called secondary teeth.
Generally, primary teeth start falling at the age of seven or eight but in case of anlylosis of teeth they may get fused to the jawbone and may not fall off. It will prevent eruption of permanent teeth.
If there is ankylosis of permanent teeth, they may remain asymptomatic unless they are detected accidentally on x-ray. The X-ray shows no gap between the tooth and the jawbone.
The three distinct symptoms of ankylosis of teeth are:
- The affected tooth remains submerged as compared to other adjacent tooth.
- The permanent tooth is blocked when the primary teeth gets fused to the jawbone.
- There is misalignment of upper and lower teeth.
Treatment Of Ankylosed Tooth
Ankylosis of teeth is generally diagnosed by simply looking at the teeth and the history of the patient. Diagnosis is supported by X-ray of the oral cavity. There are special instruments available for detecting the severity of ankylosis of teeth; many dentists do not rely on these equipments.
If the ankylosed tooth is permanent, there is no need to interfere with it as it is harmless. However, if the ankylosed tooth is primary teeth (baby teeth), it requires to be extracted to make way for permanent tooth.
A minor surgical procedure is performed to remove the temporary teeth. This is generally done in children. At the same time, it has to be ensured that the emerging tooth is not distorted. Space maintainers are used to prevent the crowding of adjacent tooth. Orthodontic treatment may be necessary for alignment of teeth.