Loose teeth are normal for a child, but loose adult teeth are a cause for concern. If a tooth feels loose, you might notice that it is possible to wiggle the tooth. It is also possible that you may find a loose tooth by touching it during normal activities, such as eating or drinking.
A tooth doesn’t move in a healthy mouth, so signs of movement such as wobbles always have an underlying cause.
The main cause of a loose adult tooth in any position is gum disease. However, in some cases teeth grinding or injury (such as an accidental blunt impact to the teeth or jaw) are the cause.
Gum disease is the leading cause of loose teeth, but it is rare for an adult to have gum disease without other symptoms, such as the following:
- Bleeding gums: If you have gum disease, bleeding gums while brushing are one of the most common symptoms. Bleeding may be unnoticeable until you look at your toothbrush, so always check it before rinsing. Bleeding may be intermittent.
- Swollen gums: Gums with the disease can swell up, making them look or feel slightly raised and bulbous. Swelling can also occur alongside pain. Swelling might feel worse after irritation to the gums, either from brushing or certain types of food or drink.
- Gum recession: When gum disease progresses you may find that the gums recede, which looks like small extensions of the tooth size at the top of the tooth. Receding gums can be alarming to look at and may cause you to hide your smile or avoid showing your teeth.
The best way to prevent a loose adult tooth is proper dental care. This means regular checkups and deep cleaning, as well as daily personal care of the teeth and gums. Your dentist may be able to tighten a loose tooth and save it with the right treatment.
If you would like to discuss a treatment option for a loose tooth at our Brighton and Hove-based clinic, we offer specialist services for nervous patients. You will see our team is friendly and professional when you get in touch with us to book an appointment today.
Loose Tooth Causes and Treatments
As the most common cause of a loose tooth in adults is gum disease, the main treatments solve this underlying issue. This should mean the tooth remains firmly fixed in place after treatment is complete. Gum disease happens because of a build-up of plaque and bacteria on the teeth.
As gum disease is a result of bacteria stuck to the gum from eating food, gum disease can affect and potentially loosen teeth people commonly use for chewing, such as the following:
- Loose molar tooth: These are the teeth we use to grind our food together, so they are often places where bacteria can collect and gum disease can take hold.
- Loose front tooth: Many things pass the front teeth, including when people drink – drinking from a straw can reduce the impact of drinks on the front teeth.
- Loose wisdom tooth: A loose back tooth or wisdom tooth can occur because they erupt late in life, often at awkward angles that provide ideal shelter for bacteria.
Whatever tooth it affects, the following are some common treatment options for a loose tooth caused by gum disease:
- Root planing: A special type of deep cleaning, this treatment method involves removing the dental plaque causing the disease and planing the tooth at the roots. This procedure helps to reverse the effects of gum disease.
- Gum surgery: In cases of advanced gum disease, an oral surgeon can remove the problem gum tissue. Surgery may be the only option to prevent further bone loss in the mouth and stop gum disease from progressing.
- Dental splinting: A dentist may save a tooth by using splints, which involves using special bond resins and fibres to stick the loose tooth to the adjacent teeth. Splinting avoids the need for pulling out a loose tooth and fitting dental implants.
- Bone graft: Bone grafts replace bone using another part of your jaw bone or a synthetic bone material. Bone can regenerate and grafts may be the only option if you have loose teeth due to gum disease, as it can erode healthy gum and bone tissue significantly.
After a successful treatment, you will require consistent long-term care for your teeth and gums to prevent the disease from making your teeth loose again. Leaving in a loose tooth is better, but may not be possible. Left untreated, adult teeth may require cosmetic dentistry before the issues from gum disease fully resolve.
While the main cause is gum disease, simple injury and the possibility of teeth grinding may also be the source of the issue. Treatments for these problems include the following:
- Grinding: Mouth guards can stop the immediate effects of teeth grinding and prevent any further loosening. Other longer-term treatments include management of stress or anxiety, which is a common psychological cause of teeth grinding. Sleep therapy may also reduce teeth grinding at night.
- Injury: Depending on the location, it may be possible to save the tooth; treatments may include a splint treatment but may also include bone grafts and surgery. Some loose teeth caused by injury can heal by themselves but it may depend heavily on the extent of the injury. Playing sports like rugby with a mouth guard will also help.
If you suspect you have gum disease as the cause it is best to see a dentist and regularly attend checkups to keep an eye on the situation. You should also practise good oral hygiene habits. Teeth grinding may have psychological causes and injury may be impossible to avoid in most cases.
There are a few other less common potential causes of a loose tooth, which are also difficult to avoid. Less common causes of gum disease or loose teeth include the following:
- Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during a pregnancy can affect the gums. In this case, the gums and loose teeth should return to normal after the pregnancy.
- Diabetes: People living with diabetes may find their gum disease is worse due to the effects of the condition. Effective diabetes treatments will reduce this issue.
Any cause of a loose adult tooth is a potential cause for concern, but the main cause (gum disease) is almost entirely avoidable through simple hygiene. So, to prevent a loose adult tooth, brush twice daily, floss and try antibacterial rinses to stop gum disease from forming.
Get Treatment for a Loose Tooth
If you are an adult and are nervous about the potential cause or treatment option for your loose tooth, we can help. Our highly-qualified team offers supportive services for nervous patients at our high-tech dental clinic. We will help make all dental visits painless and comfortable.
Usually, a loose tooth that is still attached has a cause such as advanced gum disease, excessive teeth grinding and physical injury to the area. You can easily schedule an appointment at our well-equipped clinic, which is conveniently located in Brighton and Hove.
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Sat: By appointment only