A loose tooth can be a normal occurrence or a cause of concern depending on the age of the person. Loose and shaky teeth are commonly seen in toddlers and kids when the milk or baby teeth fall off and adult teeth emerge in the mouth. This is a perfectly normal physiological event and signifies a phase of growth and development. But for an adult, it is a matter of concern. Loosening of teeth in adults signifies an existing pathology in the gums. Here are two reasons your teeth may become loose:
- Periodontitis – Most prominent and serious cause for loose teeth. Periodontitis is the advanced form of gingivitis, which is caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar around the teeth and gums. Bacteria from the plaque penetrate and destroy deeper structures (periodontal ligaments and surrounding bone) that support and hold the tooth in place. Poor oral hygiene, diabetes, high blood pressure and compromised immunity are some of the factors that accelerate the process of bacterial destruction. Deleterious habits like smoking and tobacco chewing also contribute to the process of periodontitis. Getting rid of such habits will minimize the damage to a great extent. Long-term research and studies have found that men are more likely to develop periodontitis than women and those above the age of 35 are at a higher risk.
- Trauma – Also called occlusal trauma, it occurs when more than normal force is exerted on otherwise healthy teeth and gums. Factors like teeth grinding (bruxism), clenching, defective fillings and drifting of teeth are responsible for the traumatic injuries. When excessive force is applied on the tooth, the underlying periodontal structure gets weakened and inflamed leading to loosening of the tooth. By eliminating the causative factors, the oral structure can be reverted back to its normal state and avoid loosening of teeth.
How can I salvage my tooth?
Regardless of the cause, your teeth will require immediate attention from the dentist. Most of the time, they can be salvaged and returned back to the healthy state but in some cases extraction will be the only option. Below are (free, what does free mean here?) treatment options:
- Teeth Cleaning – Also called deep cleaning, it helps to remove plaque and tartar from deep underneath the gums. This ensures that the offending agents are completely eliminated from the vicinity of the teeth and gums. This can be done in one or two appointments by your dental hygienist and is a fairly painless procedure.
- Bite correction – If teeth are misaligned or positioned abnormally, they can be pushed back into their original positions by using orthodontic devices like braces or Invisalign.
- Nightguards– These are recommended if you have the habit of grinding teeth while sleeping. They are smooth, plastic trays which are customised specially for your dentition. These will act as a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, and reduce the impact of the grinding action on the teeth.
- Splinting –This is usually performed in severe cases of teeth mobility. Loose teeth can be joined to a neighbouring healthy tooth with the help of a splint which is a thin piece of metal wire bonded on the back side of the teeth. This will fix the loose tooth in the normal position long enough for the surrounding tissue to heal and support the tooth naturally again.
- Gum surgery – required in extreme cases of periodontal disease. The gums will be deep cleaned and the dentist will rebuild the damaged tissues by using grafts. The outcome of this treatment is fairly good.
For oral hygiene needs and deep cleaning, contact Green Meadow Dental, 3579B Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06111, (865)-860-0056. We also serve patients from surrounding areas like West Hartford, East Berlin and Kensington.