Loose Teeth

Dental Health Advice

What are the causes of loose teeth?

There are a number of reasons a permanent tooth may become loose. The main reasons are:

Gum disease

Gum (or periodontal) disease is generally considered to be the most common cause of loose permanent teeth. Please see the section on Gum Disease for more information regarding the causes and treatment of Gum Disease.

Trauma

A traumatic injury to the tooth can result in either displacement of the intact tooth within the tooth socket, or fracture of the tooth itself. Both of these can result in a loose tooth.

Stress due to clenching or grinding

Loose teeth can also be caused by heavy clenching or grinding of the jaws, which weaken the ligaments attaching the teeth to the bone.  This is especially true when there are any underlying gum issues. These ligaments can often be strengthened with help, and the tooth stabilized, especially if the gums are healthy.

trauma, including accidents or sports injuries.

If your tooth becomes loose because of an accident, there’s a good chance your dentist can save the tooth, even if it’s very loose, so it’s even more important to get into the office as soon as possible.

In many cases, a loose adult tooth or teeth can be stabilized by attaching them to neighboring teeth through a procedure called splinting. This is usually a temporary procedure lasting a few weeks or months that allows gums to heal and helps the ligaments to strengthen around the tooth. A splint is often made of composite resin and wire and attaches the loose tooth or teeth to a healthy tooth next to them. Your dentist may also put a small, specially-made plastic splint in place to stabilize the loose tooth.

What do I do if I have a loose tooth?

See a dentist as soon as possible

This should be an obvious answer, but many may not go to the dentist because they are afraid that a loose tooth indicates the need for extensive dental work, which is not always the case. Taking care of any problems now will help in the long-term. It’s important to realize that your oral health can affect the well-being of every system in your body, and the dentist knows that.

Leave the tooth alone

Don’t pull or pick at the tooth, and resist the temptation to wiggle it around with your tongue or finger. If you’ve been informed that the tooth will need to be removed anyway, do not make any attempt to pull it yourself. Doing so increases the risk of infection and excessive bleeding—not to mention the risk of a root or piece of the tooth breaking off in the socket. Leave this task to the professionals.

Eat soft foods

Avoid biting into hard foods such as apples, or eating crunchy food such as popcorn, which tends to get stuck in between teeth. Avoid sticky foods.

Keep it clean

Make every attempt to keep the tooth clean, but realize that you will not be able to brush or floss it normally. Rinsing the mouth gently will help clear your mouth of food particles.

What are the consequences of not dealing with loose teeth?

If a loose tooth is left, there is a risk of the tooth being ingested, or toothache &/or an abscess developing. This can have severe consequences so the best advice is seek advice sooner rather than later.

How can the247dentist help with loose teeth?

Attending the247dentist promptly can help identify the exact cause of the looseness affecting the tooth and may help to retain the tooth. The treatments provided may range from splinting the tooth in place, initiating cleaning of the gum or in the case of a painful loose tooth, extraction. The dentist can also arrange for you to register with a dentist for long-term treatment of any underlying gum issues or more extensive restorative requirements to save the tooth or replace a failed tooth.