Periapical Test



The mobility test is a helpful test to diagnose if any teeth present with periapical inflammation or periodontal involvement.




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Before you begin: select which teeth you will be testing. 

It is helpful to test 3-4 teeth at a time: a tooth on the opposite side of the mouth from the symptomatic side/tooth, a tooth on either side of the tooth of interest, a tooth opposing the tooth of interest, and the tooth of interest.

  • Every situation is different, so you will need to adjust your selection based on your patient’s symptoms and natural dentition

  • Ideally try to select control teeth that have similar anatomy or restorations (consider crown materials, size/location of restorations) to the tooth of interest

  • Give each tooth a number and ask your patient to compare “tooth number 1, 2, and 3” at the conclusion of the test

  • It is recommended to end with the tooth of interest in case there is lingering discomfort

With a firm grip, place the handle end of a dental mirror on the buccal surface of the tooth you are testing and the other blunt end metal instrument on the lingual surface.

Alternate between applying gentle pressure buccally and lingually.

Record the degree of mobility in a record keeping table according to the Miller Classification (Grade 0, 1, 2, or 3). 

Repeat this test until all control teeth and the tooth of interest have been tested.


Torabinejad M, Fouad A, Shabahang S. Endodontics: Principles and Practice. 6th ed. London, United Kingdom: Elsevier, 2020.

Blicher B, Pryles RL, Lin J. Endodontics Review: A Study Guide. Hanover Park, IL: Quintessence Publishing Co, Inc, 2019.