loose teeth in adults

Dealing With Loose Teeth In Adults: Causes and Solutions

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Dealing With Loose Teeth In Adults

It is common for children to get loose teeth from time to time because the baby teeth have to come out in order for the permanent teeth to come in. But it becomes a problem when an adult who has gone through the complete teething process, has a loose adult tooth or loose teeth. The implications of a loose tooth in adults are several and there is no positive outcome.

The teeth are embedded in the gums, so when a tooth comes loose, it usually starts slowly. It slowly separates from the gum and becomes shaky. Eventually, chewing on that side of the mouth becomes painful and it can make it impossible to clean. 

This becomes a problem because the inability to clean that part of the mouth thoroughly will allow the growth of bacteria that are harmful to the gums and teeth. If this is not checked early enough, the damage done by the bacteria may extend to the surrounding gums and teeth causing further damage. 

Let us talk about some of the ways you can manage a loose tooth, symptoms you might experience, and cause of loose teeth in adults.

Symptoms of a loose adult tooth

For many who have experienced a wobbly adult tooth, the signs and after effects are common. If you are experiencing this problem, you may have observed by now that your gums bleed too often. It could be while brushing your teeth even after getting a brush with very soft bristles.

Sometimes, just clenching your teeth or suckling on your gums can make your gums bleed. You may have tried different home remedies or even stopped taking soda or alcohol, but the bleeding continues.

Another sign of a loose adult tooth is swollen gums. As a result of the constant wobbling and pressure applied on the tooth, it irritates the gum and causes it to swell. You may also notice gum discoloration, bloody red gums, or black gums depending on how the infection has grown. 

In special cases, another sign may be receding gums, which happens when treatment is not done early. Then, to cap it all, the tooth becomes shaky or wobbly, incapacitating that part of your mouth.

Bear in mind that these symptoms may mean that there is an underlying tooth condition. So the best thing to do will be to consult your dentist once you notice these symptoms. Your dentist will carry out checks, run some tests, and explain to you the cause of your wobbly adult tooth. Now let’s discuss some of the causes.

Cause of loose teeth in adults

Regular visits to your dentist are imperative as simply brushing and flossing may not be enough to maintain a healthy mouth. These regular checks give your dentist the opportunity to offer routine exercises and care for your teeth. And if there is any sign of tooth disease, he can identify it immediately and get treatment started. Early diagnosis is key!

There are several causes of loose teeth in adults. 

One very common cause is periodontal (gum) disease which happens as a result of the build-up of plaque or tartar. This happens when oral hygiene is poor and then a bacterial infection starts. This infection goes further to make the gums, tissues, and bones weak which often leads to swelling of the gums and loose adult teeth.

One of the reasons why you should keep all your dental appointments is because the regular cleaning helps remove plaque from areas where your toothbrush could not get to. Flossing helps remove particles from tight corners but it is not always enough. 

Over time, tartar or calculus build-up occurs and if left unchecked will give rise to a more complicated problem which is first noticed when the gums start bleeding, get too painful, too sensitive and a tooth gets wobbly.

Another cause of loose teeth starts with primary occlusal trauma. If you have a habit of clenching your teeth (bruxism) or biting down on food forcefully, it can cause the teeth to wear out.

Then there is the secondary occlusal trauma which simply refers to forceful biting or teeth clenching when you already have a gum infection. As a result, the gums and bones get weaker and the pressure causes swelling which leads to loose adult teeth.

Of course, not every loose adult tooth is caused by poor oral hygiene or teeth clenching, there are cases like accidents where you suffer an impact to the mouth or a simple fall.

Treatment of loose tooth in adults

The first step to getting the required treatment for a loose tooth is diagnosis. This is where your dentist uses an x-ray or a dental probe to examine your gums and teeth. After running tests and finding out the cause, he will suggest the best treatment for you. This article highlights a few general treatment options for loose tooth in adults.

  1. Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)

This involves cleaning the teeth and gum pockets using a special procedure. The plaque or tartar build-up is eliminated removing pressure from the gums and teeth. If there is an infection, antibiotics may be given to treat it.

  1. Surgical Procedures

Surgery will be required only if the cause of the loose tooth is severe and cannot be treated by scaling. There are various surgical procedures like flap surgery, bone grafting, splinting, bite adjustment. These procedures are done to either reshape or correct the wrong positioning of teeth or to fill sparse areas.

Managing loose teeth for Adults

An occlusal mouth guard may be given to those who have the habit of grinding their teeth. This helps to create space between the lower and upper teeth and it is recommended for use at night during bedtime.

Do not skip dental appointments, early detection is key as most dental diseases or problems are treatable. You might be tempted to manage the problem at home hoping that it will go away but this is not recommended. While the problem may temporarily go away, it will usually come back worse.

Proper oral hygiene is important too. While your dentist plays his role in taking care of your teeth, ensure that you brush correctly, floss regularly, and use mouthwashes only recommended by your dentist. Putting these into consideration will help prevent dental diseases and the struggle of having wobbly adult teeth.

Kelly Hancock, RDH

Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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