For children, a loose tooth promises a visit from the tooth fairy. For adults, a loose tooth can have more negative effects. Loose adult teeth are extremely common and often serve as a red flag for imminent dental problems. We’ll take you through the causes, preventative measures, and treatment options that are available to those who are suffering from a loose adult tooth.
From gum disease to grinding your teeth during sleep, there are numerous things that cause permanent teeth to become loose:
- Underlying gum disease is one of the most common causes of loose teeth in adults. Beginning as gingivitis – which results from a buildup of plaque – it will turn into periodontitis if left untreated. This can destroy your gum tissue and cause teeth to loosen up.
- Teeth grinding is another extremely common cause of loose adult teeth. You may not even know that you’re doing it since so many people grind their teeth in their sleep.
- Clenching your teeth – technically known as “primary occlusal trauma” or “secondary occlusal trauma” depending on the extent of the damage – can be a surprisingly significant contributor towards loose teeth in adults, particularly when combined with gum damage.
- A traumatic dental injury – such as a heavy blow to your jaw or facial area – can cause teeth to become loose.
- Pregnancy hormones can cause your teeth to become loose for a limited period. Barring the involvement of any other factors, they should tighten up by themselves.
So, at what point should you visit a dentist? If your tooth is only slightly loose, you don’t need to visit a dentist immediately. Avoid touching the tooth and wait to see whether it settles down on its own. If you’re still experiencing looseness after a couple of days, it’s time to book an appointment. If you’ve got a very loose adult tooth which feels like it’s on the verge of falling out, you need to seek dental care immediately. Time is an extremely important factor in determining whether you’ll be able to save the tooth, so don’t delay.
To stop your tooth from getting worse, there’s a couple of things that you can do:
- Get to a dentist immediately. It’s important to act as soon as you notice that there’s a problem.
- Try to keep the tooth clean. Of course, it may be difficult to brush a loose tooth the same way that you normally would, but it’s still important to maintain good oral cleanliness standards. You could use a toothbrush with soft bristles, rather than a standard brush.
- If you need to eat, try to eat soft foods rather than hard, crunchy foods like apples, nuts, or biscuits. You should also avoid sticky foods or foods which are likely to get stuck in between your teeth, such as those which contain seeds.
- Although there’s an enormous temptation to pick at or wobble your loose tooth, it’s important that you try to avoid doing so. You’ll only increase your risk of infection, and at worst, you could knock the tooth out completely.
If your loose adult tooth needs treatment, there are numerous different things which your dentist might prescribe:
- Removing plaque deposits and bacteria from the surface of your teeth through deep cleaning is often an effective way of treating gum disease.
- If a deep cleaning treatment doesn’t solve your gum disease problems, you may need periodontal surgery. During surgery, the dentist will attempt to rebuild the tissue damaged by disease.
- You can join a loose tooth to its neighbors with a splint, a piece of metal which is used to bond the enamel of the loose adult tooth to another, more stable tooth. This can help the area to heal and the teeth to tighten up.
- If your loose teeth are caused by grinding, a dentist may prescribe you with a mouth guard to wear at night.
Do you have a loose adult tooth that you need checked out? Contact The Dentists at Northgate for an immediate appointment with one of your local dental healthcare professionals.