When you’re a kid, a loose tooth is the best thing ever. You spend your time fiddling with it, find a creative way to pull it, and then receive a quarter from the tooth fairy. But as an adult, a loose tooth isn’t such a great thing. What are some of the ways your teeth can loosen and how can you remedy it?
Ways Your Teeth Get Loosened
There are three most common reasons for loose teeth.
• Oral Trauma: whether you got hit by a baseball or tripped and fell on your face, injury to the mouth is one way a tooth loosens. When this occurs, the periodontal ligaments that hold your tooth roots get stretched.
• Tooth Grinding/Clenching: This can happen while you are sleeping and you don’t even know it. Tooth clenching and grinding also stretches the periodontal ligaments.
• Gum Disease: This is perhaps the most common cause for loose teeth in adults. When plaque infects the gums, it causes gingivitis and—if left untreated—periodontal disease. The infection damages gum tissue, including the periodontal ligaments.
Treatments for Loose Teeth
See your dentist about any loose teeth you have. There are different treatments for the different causes of loose teeth.
• Tooth Splinting: This will probably be the treatment you’ll receive if your loose teeth are due to oral trauma. A small, flexible splint is cemented on either side of the tooth. This splint is left on for about two weeks, allowing the periodontal ligaments to heal.
• Mouth Guard: If you grind or clench your teeth at night then a mouth guard will be the solution. It prevents clenching by cushioning your teeth. Any grinding that occurs won’t damage your periodontal ligaments because your teeth will slide across a smooth surface.
• Gum Disease Treatment: This treatment will be more extensive because the cause is more serious. It may involve deep cleaning, dental scaling, root planning, and sometimes medication.