X-rays

My Tooth is Loose

Having a loose adult tooth can be scary! What if it falls out? You will need an expensive replacement tooth to restore your full set of teeth.

Why is my tooth loose?

First, let’s look at why your tooth may be loose. There could be a number of factors contributing to your loose tooth, but you can probably guess the most common reason. That’s right – impact. Falling and hitting your tooth is obviously a factor contributing to loose teeth.

Another reason for loose adult teeth is tooth grinding. Some adults may grind or clench their teeth at night, which can stretch out the ligaments. This can cause the tooth to feel loose, especially in the mornings.

Another cause of loose teeth can be gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque around the gum line. It’s an infection that can damage or destroy your gums and tooth ligaments, causing teeth to feel loose. Gum disease has many other effects and should be treated as soon as possible.

What are my treatment options?

Your treatment options for your loose tooth depend on what caused the tooth to become loose in the first place. Some teeth may tighten up on their own, but it’s always best to visit your dentist before assuming your tooth will be fine because other teeth may need treatment.

If you knocked your tooth loose due to impact, your dentist will likely splint your tooth. Splinting gives your tooth extra support by bonding it to neighboring teeth in order to keep the loose tooth stable and still. Splints are usually only worn a couple of weeks to give your ligaments time to heal.

If you loosened your tooth by grinding your teeth, you will be given a mouth guard to sleep with a night. This will help cushion your teeth and keep you from clinching and grinding so the ligaments are not placed under stress and can heal.

If your loose tooth is caused by gum disease you will need to undergo a more lengthy treatment. A few deep cleaning appointments may be necessary to remove the buildup of plaque. Your dentist will advise you on this depending on the severity of your gum disease.

If your tooth cannot be saved, it may have to be extracted. You will be given an implant or bridge to replace the missing tooth.

Don’t fear!

Just because your adult tooth is loose does not mean you will loose it. There are several easy options to help save your tooth if you visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Dental Visit

Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also commonly referred to as gum disease, is when bacteria infect your gums and mouth. “Peri” means around, and “odontal” refers to teeth. Periodontal disease can affect any part around the teeth including the gums, roots, ligaments, and bone.

I thought gum disease was called gingivitis?

Gingivitis, another result of bacteria in the mouth, usually comes before periodontal disease. Gingivitis refers to the early stages of bacteria, which manifests itself in plaque buildup around the teeth. This causes the gums to often bleed during brushing or flossing.

What causes periodontal disease?

Plaque causes periodontal disease, but there are some other common risk factors including:

  • Poor oral hygiene: lack of brushing and flossing make periodontal disease easier to develop
  • Genetics: things such as family history or having crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean can contribute to development of periodontal disease
  • Habits: smoking or chewing tobacco make it harder for the gums to repair themselves
  • Hormones: changes that occur in puberty, pregnancy, etc. can make periodontal disease easier to develop
  • Illness: some illnesses such as cancer or diabetes can put you at higher risk for periodontal diseases. The medication you take can contribute as well.

What happens if I have periodontal disease?

If your gingivitis is left untreated, it can (but not always) develop into periodontal disease. If it does progress, the inner layer of the gum will pull away from the teeth, forming pockets. These pockets can become infected because they easily collect germs and debris. Toxins, produced by the bacteria as well as enzymes in your body trying to fight the bacteria off, will begin to break the tissues and bones that hold your teeth in place. This deepens the pockets formed earlier and destroys everything that anchors your teeth in place. This causes your tooth to become loose and eventually fall out.

How is periodontal disease treated?

Treatment varies from person to person, but can range from therapies to stop bacterial growth to surgery to restore tissues. The goal of all treatments is to reduce the infection and stop the disease from further development. The best treatment is to see you dentist as soon as possible if you think you may have periodontal disease.