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In vivo determination of tooth mobility after fixed orthodontic appliance therapy with a novel intraoral measurement device

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Valid measurement systems recording tooth mobility upon displacement within the subtle range of physiological strains are missing. Here, we introduce a novel in vivo measurement device and demonstrate a first clinical application by monitoring tooth mobility changes during retention after fixed multibracket appliance therapy.

Materials and methods

Tooth mobility was measured in vivo on 21 patients (11 female, 10 male; mean age 16.1 ± 3.1 years) by displacing the upper first incisor 0.2 mm lingually for 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, and 10 s with the novel intraoral device. Measurements were recorded directly after, as much as 2, 7, and 14 days and up to 6 months after appliance debonding.


Device performance was precise and valid in clinical use. Data revealed significant interindividual varying tooth mobility, which was very high during the first 2 days after appliance removal. After 1 week, mobility values decreased, but were generally higher upon short loadings compared to long ones. After 3 months, tooth mobility was significantly lower than directly after debonding. Interestingly, males exhibited significantly less mobility than females.


Our work is the first using an in vivo measurement device capable of performing and recording tooth displacements within this delicate range and in such precision. Furthermore, our findings elucidate tooth mobility changes after multibracket treatment, giving important information for retention periods.

Clinical relevance

Establishment of this novel measurement device in clinical use is an important improvement when approaching the complexity of tooth mobility in vivo regarding different issues like orthodontics, periodontal disease, or bruxism.

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This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (KFO208, TP5).

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Correspondence to Anna Konermann.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Konermann, A., Al-Malat, R., Skupin, J. et al. In vivo determination of tooth mobility after fixed orthodontic appliance therapy with a novel intraoral measurement device. Clin Oral Invest 21, 1283–1289 (2017).

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