Last Updated on: 21st November 2023, 08:55 am
If a tooth has a different mobility from that of the others, it is necessary to address the situation with the help of a dental professional.
A loose tooth can be a sign of different health conditions that can affect the well-being of the adult person: gum disease (periodontitis) and osteoporosis, are some of the pathologies behind that loose tooth.
The European Federation of Periodontology points out that 40% of people have gum disease and about 70% of tooth loss is a consequence of periodontitis.
Table of Contents
Common Causes of Loose Adult Tooth
Loose teeth in adults are an oral health condition that must be attended to promptly.
Different situations can cause this condition:
- One of the main reasons is periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. It is the result of a buildup of plaque and bacteria around the teeth, which causes inflammation of the gums and deterioration of the supporting tissue of the teeth. If you’re showing signs and symptoms of gum disease, make sure to ask your dentist for advice immediately.
- Another common cause is poor oral health, which includes a lack of proper dental hygiene and not flossing regularly, as well as not making regular visits to the dentist for checkups and cleanings.
- Bruxism, the habit of clenching or grinding the teeth, can also cause teeth to loosen over time. This problem may be related to stress or the misalignment of the jaw.
- A lack of essential nutrients in the diet can also weaken teeth and make them prone to loosening. For example, a calcium and vitamin D deficiency can affect overall bone health, including teeth.
- Osteoporosis causes the bones to become weak and porous. This condition can also affect the jaw bones that support the teeth. Also, some drugs that treat osteoporosis can affect oral health. This is the case with bisphosphonates, drugs that help treat bone loss but cause loose teeth.
To prevent the problem from advancing, it is essential to seek dental care and the required treatment.
Symptoms of loose adult tooth
Loose teeth in adults are a warning sign for oral health. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking timely professional attention prevents the situation from evolving into a more complex state. Some of these symptoms are:
- Tooth mobility. Teeth that move more than normal, making chewing difficult and causing discomfort when speaking or trying to keep your mouth closed. Also, you may have tooth sensitivity, especially when eating or drinking hot, cold, or sweet foods.
- Inflammation and redness of the gums. Gums can bleed easily during brushing or flossing. Persistent bad breath and a foul taste in the mouth may also occur.
Other associated symptoms are jaw pain, headache, and ear pain that may indicate problems related to bruxism.
What is the treatment for a loose tooth in an adult person?
The treatment for a loose tooth in an adult depends upon the original cause and the severity of the problem:
- Bruxism. If the cause of the loose tooth is teeth grinding, a dentist should be consulted to define the appropriate treatment route.
- The tooth is too loose. In some cases, if the tooth is extremely loose and cannot be saved, it will need to be extracted. After the extraction, replacement options, such as dental implants or bridges, may be considered.
- Periodontal disease. If the loose tooth is the result of periodontal disease, treatment may include scaling and root planing, a procedure in which a deep cleaning of the gums is performed. This helps remove plaque and tartar buildup around the teeth and promotes gum healing. In more serious cases, periodontal surgery may be necessary to repair damaged tissue and strengthen the support of the teeth.
- Loss of gums. In these cases, a gum or soft tissue graft is performed.
Following the dentist’s recommendations and maintaining good oral hygiene, which includes tooth brushing and flossing as well as scheduling follow-up appointments, are essential steps to restore good oral health.
Some tips to prevent loose teeth
To have strong teeth and prevent them from loosening in adulthood, it is important to take the prescribed care that helps prevent this oral health condition.
- Proper Dental Hygiene: Brush the teeth at least twice a day, with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste; use dental floss to clean the interdental spaces and remove bacterial plaque.
- Dental Check-ups: Regularly visit the dentist to make periodic assessments and receive the required treatment promptly.
- Lessening Tobacco and Alcohol Consumption: Avoid or regulate the consumption of tobacco and alcohol since they can have negative effects on oral health and increase the risk of periodontal diseases, a health condition that precedes loose teeth.
- Healthy diet: Consume foods rich in nutrients that promote dental health, such as fruits and vegetables.
- Bruxism Treatment: If the person suffers from bruxism, they should receive treatment to control this damaging behavior.
When is it necessary to visit the dentist?
If it is perceived that you have loose teeth (mobility or a feeling of instability in the teeth), it is necessary to seek professional attention to prevent the progression of the disease with the required treatment.
If there is inflammation of the gum, bleeding, pain, or dental sensitivity, it is suggested to consult the dentist so a corresponding review and diagnosis can be made.
If there is jaw pain, recurring headache, or dental wear, it is necessary to consult the dentist, as these symptoms are related to bruxism. The dental evaluation may require a clinical examination of the teeth and gums, as well as X-rays to obtain a more complete picture of the situation.
Assertive situation management contributes to good oral health
For an adult, finding a loose tooth can be a moment of alarm, but it is a signal to seek timely dental attention. If you have any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek dental care as soon as possible so an evaluation can be made, a diagnosis determined, and the appropriate treatment recommended.
Proper dental care prevents the recurrence of loose teeth. In addition, receiving diagnosis and treatment promptly allows us to recover good oral health. Thus pushing the importance of why you should complete oral exams twice a year, learn more about it here.
Remember that the dentist is the right person to advise you on the habits you must maintain, so do not hesitate to visit your dentist’s office frequently.
Frequently Asked Questions
If a permanent tooth becomes slightly loose due to a mild injury, it will typically tighten on its own as the root heals over time. However, if the tooth is very loose and moves even with the slightest touch, it is important to seek dental attention. A dental visit is necessary to evaluate the condition and determine the appropriate treatment.
Both baby and permanent teeth have a slight degree of flexibility due to the presence of periodontal ligaments, the tiny muscle fibers that hold the tooth roots in place. While some degree of movement is considered normal, if a tooth can wiggle more than 1 mm, it has excessive mobility beyond what is expected.
Fortunately, having a loose tooth doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be lost permanently. In many cases, a loose tooth can heal, but it typically doesn’t happen on its own. If you notice any of your teeth feel loose, visit the dentist as soon as possible to assess the situation and determine the appropriate treatment.
If you notice a loose tooth that is still attached, it is important not to take any action on your own. Attempting to pull it out yourself can result in damage to the surrounding tissue or leave fragments of the tooth or bone within the socket. This can potentially lead to an infection, which is even more problematic. In most cases, loose teeth will eventually fall out naturally without the need for a forced extraction. It is advisable to seek professional dental advice to ensure proper care and avoid any complications.
If you have any questions about loose adult teeth or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Islands Family Dental as well as our page on Facebook. We look forward to your visit and we will make a timely diagnosis. Our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, Newbury Park, and Port Hueneme will be able to guide you toward the best treatment to take care of your health and give you back your best smile.
- Berry Jennifer (Mayo 31 de 2023) Why is my tooth loose, and how do I treat it? / https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dental-problems#summary
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (July 2018) Periodontal disease / https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/espanol/temas-de-salud/la-enfermedad-de-las-encias
- MedlinePlus (January 24, 2022) Periodontitis / https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/article/001059.htm
- Mayo Clinic (February 24, 2023) Periodontitis / https://www.mayoclinic.org/es-es/diseases-conditions/periodontitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354473
- UC San Diego Health (October 25, 2018) Periodontal Diseases – Health Library / https://myhealth.ucsd.edu/Spanish/DiseasesConditions/Adult/Oral/85,P03987