The idea of losing a tooth when you’re a child can be exciting, but when you’re an adult, it’s terrifying. Loose adult teeth mean that you have some sort of underlying dental issue. Causes range from injury to the mouth to hormones and gum disease. Regardless of the reason, it is crucial to see your dentist right away so that he or she can diagnose and properly treat the issue. Dentists have many treatment options that can save your tooth – and ease your fears.
How Do I Know if a Permanent Tooth is Loose?
Loose permanent teeth don’t wiggle like your baby teeth did. Most patients report that something simply doesn’t feel right when they are eating or brushing their teeth. Some may notice it in the mornings but then forget about it as the tooth tightens up throughout the course of the day. In others, the sensation is there one day and gone the next, so it is extremely tempting to ignore it altogether. If you ever sense that one of your adult teeth is moving, call your dentist to set up an appointment immediately. The longer you wait, the worse the problem may get.
What Causes a Permanent Tooth to Loosen?
Permanent teeth can become loose when the bone, gums, or connective tissues and ligaments supporting them are weakened or stretched due to disease or injury. Primary occlusal trauma, secondary occlusal trauma, periodontal disease, pregnancy hormones, osteoporosis, and injury to the mouth can all cause adult teeth to move.
- Primary Occlusal Trauma
Primary Occlusal Trauma happens when teeth experience a biting force that goes beyond their tolerance. This force is usually prolonged and inordinate, and is caused when patients clench their teeth or suffer bruxism – nighttime grinding.
- Secondary Occlusal Trauma
Secondary Occlusal Trauma exists when teeth have weakened bone and gums, and they can’t handle normal biting forces. Clenching teeth makes the damage worse, but frequently periodontal disease is the underlying issue.
- Periodontal Disease
Periodontal Disease is also known as gum disease, and it occurs when bacterial plaque and tartar infect the gums. The infection, when untreated, destroys gum tissue and can result in loss of connective tissues and bone.
- Pregnancy Hormones
High levels of estrogen and progesterone that flow during pregnancy can cause ligaments surrounding the teeth to loosen. This is ordinarily a temporary problem and will not result in tooth loss unless other issues are present.
A disease that affects both men and women, Osteoporosis causes bones to lose density and weaken. As the condition progresses, it can cause teeth to loosen and even fall out.
- Trauma to the Mouth
Any time you experience an injury to your mouth, ligaments and connective tissues can stretch and cause looseness. Always treat mouth injuries as dental emergencies and see a dentist immediately.
How Do I Treat a Loose Permanent Tooth?
Never try to deal with a loose adult tooth on your own. Always seek prompt attention from your dentist to get a diagnosis and treatment options. Although some causes of looseness may dissipate within a few days, others can linger and threaten total tooth loss. Based on the circumstances, your dentist will recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
To support the tooth, your dentist may place a tiny, flexible splint around it to immobilize it. The splint will be attached to your teeth using dental cement, and will remain there for approximately two weeks – or until your ligaments and tissues have had enough time to heal.
- Mouth Guards
If bruxism is causing your problem, your dentist will fit you with a mouth guard to wear at night. It will prevent you from clenching your jaws and grinding while you sleep.
- Deep Cleaning
If your issue is stemming from gum disease, your dentist will recommend several deep cleaning treatments where plaque and tartar buildup will be removed. These procedures involve root planing and dental scaling.
Usually used in conjunction with deep cleaning, your dentist may prescribe you an antibiotic to help fight infection. If you have deep periodontal pockets, the dentist may also fill them with a medication to help them shrink down to a more normal size.
If your tooth cannot be saved, the dentist will extract it and create either a dental implant, bridge, or partial denture to replace it.
Until you get in to see your dentist, make sure you brush with a soft toothbrush and utilize an antiseptic mouth rinse. Avoid sugary and acidic foods, and consume items high in calcium content.
Don’t panic over loose permanent teeth. By seeking immediate treatment, you have a good chance of preventing tooth loss and further dental complications. Don’t delay if you think you might have a loose tooth – contact your dentist today! Your smile will thank you.
If you are located in the Washington DC metro area, contact Ideal Dental Solutions for assistance. We have offices in McLean (Tyson’s Corner) as well as Arlington near the Courthouse metro station.