Loose adult tooth Overview
As a child, having a loose tooth can be an exciting experience as it often signals an impending visit from the Tooth Fairy. However, when one is an adult, a loose tooth may provoke more serious concerns.
Loose permanent teeth are a common issue regardless of age, but the good news is that in most cases it can be treated. Unfortunately, if the tooth is wobbly, the situation will not improve without intervention from an experienced dentist. To ensure the best possible outcome, schedule an appointment with a dental professional as soon as possible.
Causes of a loose tooth in adults
The following factors are frequently associated with loosening of one or more teeth:
Periodontitis, also referred to as gum disease, is an inflammatory and infectious condition of the gums. This can be caused by inadequate oral hygiene habits.
Approximately 40% of individuals are impacted by gum disease, and it is estimated that 70% of tooth loss is due to this condition.
Regular brushing and flossing alone may not be enough to prevent plaque buildup, which can lead to periodontal disease. Plaque is composed of bacteria that stick to and accumulate on the surface of teeth, hardening over time and requiring professional removal by a dentist.
What to do
Anyone who identifies indications of periodontal disease should schedule an appointment with a dental professional promptly. Through early recognition and treatment, potential tooth loss may be avoided.
During pregnancy, increased levels of estrogen and progesterone can have an impact on the bones and tissues in the mouth.
An increase in certain hormones can impact the periodontium, a collective of bones and ligaments that provide support and secure teeth in their place. When alterations occur to this complex, resulting in instability, one or more teeth may become loose.
What to do
Pregnancy can cause changes to parts of the body, however these changes typically resolve after pregnancy and are not a cause for alarm. If a person is experiencing pain or loose teeth during pregnancy, a dentist should be consulted to ensure there are no gum diseases or other oral health issues present.
Injury to the teeth
Having healthy teeth is essential for tooth strength, however, an external force such as a blow to the face or a car accident can damage the teeth and surrounding tissue. This may result in the chipping or loosening of teeth.
Clenching the teeth during times of stress or grinding them at night can lead to wearing down of the tissues and loosening of the teeth.
Many people may be unaware of their habitual clenching or grinding habits until jaw pain is experienced as a result. However, dentists are often able to detect the problem prior to any permanent damage being caused to the teeth.
What to do
If one suspects that an injury has impacted their teeth, it is recommended to visit a dentist without delay. This is particularly true for injuries occurring due to sports injury, accidents, or falls, as these can lead to dental damage.
Treatments for a loose tooth in adults
Once your doctor identifies the reason for a loose tooth, treatment begins. In order to remove hardened plaque that has accumulated underneath your teeth and gums, a special dental cleaning procedure called scaling and root planning is necessary if you have gum disease. You may also be given antibiotics to help with the infection. As part of the scaling procedure, tartar and bacteria are removed, whereas the root planing procedure smooths the root surface of the tooth and helps the gum reattach to it.
Depending on the severity of gum disease, you may be eligible for a surgical procedure. Possible options include:
- Flap surgery: Your doctor will make incisions in your gums and gently pull back the gum tissue in order to perform a scaling and root planning procedure. Following the procedure, the gum tissue will be reattached. This process can help protect your teeth against potential loss.
- Bone grafts: In cases of bone deterioration, your doctor may recommend a bone grafting procedure in order to repair the affected area. This procedure involves taking small fragments of bone from a special bone grafting material to reinforce and support your teeth.
- Tooth Splinting: If a tooth has not become entirely detached from the gums, your dentist may be able to save it by using a splint. This involves bonding a piece of metal between two neighboring teeth, providing additional support and preventing any further movement of the loose tooth.
- Bite adjustment: This procedure involves removing small amounts of tooth enamel from the bite surface, reducing pressure on the tooth to support healing. It may be considered a treatment option for a loose tooth resulting from grinding.
- Mouth guard: Using a night guard while sleeping is an effective way to protect your teeth from grinding. This type of guard is designed to serve as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth, helping to prevent any damage that may occur during nighttime grinding.
Outlook and prevention of loose teeth
A loose tooth can progress and ultimately detach, potentially due to severe gum disease or unresolved teeth grinding. However, treatment can help restore the health of the gums and bones.
In cases of severe dental instability, your dentist may recommend surgically extracting the tooth and replacing it with a dental implant or bridge.
A loose tooth due to physical trauma may not be preventable, however one can reduce their chances of such trauma occurring by wearing mouth guards while participating in sports activities.
The best way to prevent loose teeth that are caused by periodontal disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth two or three times a day and flossing every day. Additionally, you need to schedule regular dental cleanings twice a year, as well as discuss any changes you notice, such as bad breath, painful gums, or bleeding gums, with your dentist.
What If the Tooth Can’t Be Saved?
If you have a loose adult tooth that needs to be extracted (particularly if gum disease is involved), your dentist may not be able to save it in most cases. However, thanks to new technology and expertise, your dentist may replace it with an implant, which is a great option for replacing a tooth.
Common Symptoms Of Loose Teeth
You may notice that a tooth is loose in more than one way. In all cases, you will be able to move the tooth with your tongue or your finger, depending on how badly it is loose.
When you notice that an adult tooth is loosening, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. If you leave this condition untreated, it can gradually worsen and cause damage to the tooth root and gums, which can result in infection. It is very important to contact your dentist as soon as possible if you notice any of the following symptoms occur:
- An extreme toothache.
- Sores on your tongue or lips.
- The gums may experience changes in shape, color, or swelling.
- Bleeding gums may occur when there is pressure applied to the gums while biting or pressing.
- The appearance of pus in your mouth.
- Darkened tooth enamel.
- Unnatural tooth mobility or numb tooth.
- Consistent headaches.
If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it is important to book an appointment with your dentist to determine the underlying cause. While bleeding gums are generally not a cause for alarm, they may be signs of more serious issues such as vitamin deficiency.