Loose Tooth in Adults: Causes and When to See a Dentist
A loose tooth during your childhood was nothing out of the ordinary — and maybe even got you an eventual visit from the tooth fairy — but it’s anything but typical as an adult. Loose teeth are a concern and a good reason to see us.
Causes of a Loose Tooth
There could be many reasons why your tooth is loose, but some of the more common ones are:
- Periodontal Disease: Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is often the result of poor dental hygiene, leading to gum inflammation, infection, and possible tooth loss.
- Trauma (Injuries): Trauma to your face and mouth can cause teeth injuries. High-risk sports, including basketball and hockey; accidents, such as a fall or car crash; and even teeth grinding in your sleep are all frequent causes of loose teeth.
- Osteoporosis: A disease that’s often associated with low calcium levels and subsequent bone loss; osteoporosis can loosen teeth because they also need high levels of calcium for optimal health.
Fortunately, we provide several options to help save your loose tooth, and below are some of the most common. The best one for you largely depends on the cause and severity of your problem and which treatment offers the most likely chance of success:
- Splinting: Using a piece of wire that joins your loose tooth with corresponding healthy ones, we perform splinting on the bottom front teeth only.
- Scaling and Root Planing (SRP): If your tooth is loose because of periodontal disease and is a minor case, we may be able to treat it effectively with this deep cleaning procedure.
- Extraction: A standard procedure where we remove the entire tooth and replace it with either a dental implant or dental bridge.
- Bone Graft: This helps regenerate the bone around the tooth to help keep it in place. We sometimes perform this in conjunction with a dental implant.
How Do I Prevent Loose Teeth?
Are you familiar with the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Perhaps no truer words apply to your dental health, so here are some of the surest ways to defend against a loose tooth:
Wear a mouthguard (which can be custom fitted):
- At bedtime to avoid grinding and clenching your teeth in your sleep.
- During the daytime to avoid grinding and clenching your teeth when you’re awake.
- During contact sports to lessen your risk for teeth injuries.
Increase your calcium and vitamin D intake:
- To strengthen your teeth. Like your bones, your teeth also need lots of calcium and vitamin D to stay strong and function properly.
Maintain proper oral hygiene:
- Brush twice a day and flossing once daily.
- Avoid sugary drinks, candy, and nicotine.
- Visit us for regular checkups and cleanings.
Undergo scaling and root planing (SRP) if you have periodontal disease:
- To deeply clean away plaque, bacteria, and other toxins. For better results, opt for an SRP that uses a soft tissue laser known for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Can a Loose Tooth Tighten Back Up on Its Own?
Sometimes you can save a loose tooth from falling out and sometimes you can’t. For example, it may tighten up on its own after a minor injury to an otherwise healthy tooth. But it’s best to see us no matter what, especially if you don’t know the cause. Also, don’t aggravate the tooth by chewing on it too often or “playing” with it. Leave it alone as much as possible until it can be checked.
Are There Other Signs of a Loose Tooth?
Yes, your tooth may be — or about to become — loose if you notice any of these other signs surrounding the affected area:
- Pain, soreness, or inflammation
- Bleeding gums
- Gum recession
- Changes in the tooth’s position or its alignment with the surrounding teeth
What Happens If My Tooth Falls Out?
It’s difficult to save a tooth after it falls out, but don’t ignore it if it does. That space in your mouth isn’t now just an aesthetic issue; it can put you at risk for a myriad of other complications, including infection, the loss of additional teeth, and bone loss. To prevent bone loss, you’ll need a dental implant secured by either a crown or bridge, and you may also require a bone graft.
What Do I Do If My Tooth Is Loose?
If your tooth is loose, don’t ignore it! Life gets busy, but brushing it off will only cause bigger issues down the road. Make sure to schedule an appointment with us as soon as you notice a problem. We will:
- Determine the cause and discuss with you the best course of action to save your tooth. We’ll likely suggest one of the treatment options already mentioned above.
- Rule out any underlying condition(s), such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes, which can all contribute to loose teeth.
- Take proactive measures to help ensure that your loose tooth doesn’t worsen over time.
Why You Should Visit Longmont Dental Loft If You Have a Loose Tooth
Longmont Dental Loft has the experience, technology, and compassion to take care of your loose tooth. We’re open Mondays through Thursdays, and we’ll get you in as soon as possible. Contact us at 303.772.6333. You’ll be glad you did!