While a loose tooth in a child is not necessarily a cause for concern since their baby teeth need to make room for their permanent teeth, the same can not be said for loose adult teeth. A loose adult tooth is a sure sign that something is wrong with the structural integrity or health of your teeth.
To find out more about the causes, treatment, and how to prevent loose adult teeth, read on. In this blog from Nashoba Valley Dental, we’re going into depth about how tooth injury and gum disease are the leading causes of loose teeth in adults and how this can be addressed.
Tooth Injury - Perhaps the most common cause of loose teeth in adults is due to suffering from a tooth injury. These can be caused by playing contact sports, falling and hitting your tooth on something hard, biting down on hard food, car accidents, or any other incident that can cause trauma to the tooth’s socket.
Gum Disease - Also known as periodontal disease, this occurs from poor oral hygiene and can lead to loose teeth because ligaments around the teeth become infected and start to deteriorate. A buildup of plaque and tartar in the mouth as a result of failing to thoroughly remove food particles due to improper brushing and flossing can lead to gum disease.
Symptoms of gum disease include a foul taste in the mouth, bad breath, and pain in the gums. Gum disease wears down the soft tissue surrounding your teeth until it becomes loosened in the socket.
Other Causes - There are many other possible contributors to loose teeth, including:
Tooth Splint - This is the most common treatment for loose teeth caused by injury. The procedure involves attaching a splint to the loose tooth which is then bonded to the surrounding healthy teeth. This remains in place until your teeth’ ligaments become strong enough to reattach.
Extraction & Replacement - If the tooth is too loose, it may need to be extracted and replaced with an artificial tooth. Leaving a gap in the teeth can be detrimental, because it can cause the teeth to shift, resulting in crooked or overcrowded teeth.
If extraction is needed, you can replace the tooth with a dental implant or dental bridge. A dental implant is when a titanium implant is inserted into the jaw bone and fuses with your jaw bone, which prevents bone loss.
Dental bridges do not prevent bone loss but are a cheaper and faster alternative to dental implants, in which an artificial tooth is suspended between two crowns that are attached to the abutment teeth and cemented into place. You could also get implant-supported dentures.
Deep Cleaning for Gum Disease - If the cause of your tooth loss was periodontal disease, then this needs to be addressed and treated head-on. A deep cleaning will be performed, which removes the plaque and tartar buildup which led to the formation of gum disease.
The infection will be removed from the gums, teeth, and mouth. You can expect to heal from this within a month. If the gum disease was minor, this could be enough to resolve the issue. Otherwise, other treatments may need to be used in tandem, such as gum grafting or reshaping, in which the inflamed tissue and bone need to be removed.
Mouthguard - If your tooth came loose because of teeth grinding, then you should wear a mouthguard when you sleep to prevent damaging your teeth. You should also wear it when playing contact sports to prevent tooth injury. This reduces the strain you put on your teeth and can assist with healing after surgery.
The best way to prevent loose teeth in adults is to reduce the risk of injury by wearing mouthguards when playing contact sports or when sleeping at night if you grind your teeth. If you have weak or sensitive teeth or dental work in your mouth, you should be careful when chewing on hard candy and crunchy foods.
To prevent gum disease, you should brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day and floss every day. Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup so they can remove any residual buildup of food particles and plaque.
If you’re overdue for a cleaning and checkup, then contact us at Nashoba Valley Dental today. If you are experiencing signs of a loose tooth, then you should contact us immediately to schedule an emergency dental appointment with Dr. Matthew Annese.