If you are an adult and have a loose tooth, you are not alone. It is not that rare for someone to experience a loose tooth. First, don’t panic; just because there’s some movement doesn’t mean the tooth is going to fall out. You may notice a loose tooth after a sports injury or if you’ve been hit in the face or jaw. Tooth grinding and gum disease can loosen teeth as well.
See a Dentist About Your Loose Tooth
Call a dental professional as soon as possible. The problem may be caused by an underlying issue that will worsen if it is not treated. Your dentist will do a thorough examination to decide what that issue is. Once a diagnosis is made, they will recommend a course of treatment.
How Loose Adult Teeth Are Treated
There are a few ways to address loose teeth. Extraction is often not one of them. One effective way to stabilize a loose tooth is to attach a splint to its surface, which is also bonded to the stable teeth nearby. A loose tooth is often caused by stretched periodontal ligaments. These can heal and tighten if the tooth is kept in place, often within a few weeks.
Another treatment is an occlusal night guard. This is used for people who grind their teeth at night. The night guard only needs to be worn when sleeping, and prevents the strain of grinding your teeth from causing further injury. Gum disease is a different story; if it is present, you’ll probably need a deep cleaning to remove pockets of bacteria and infection, which can be between the teeth and gum, and below the gum line.
What Not to Do
Don’t try to wiggle the loose tooth around. That will only make the problem worse. Sometimes the tooth will tighten up on its own in a few days; you can try waiting if you know the cause, but see a dentist if the looseness is persistent or worsens. Chewing and biting on the tooth can make it more loose and cause more injury, so avoid that area for now. The healing process can take time and your gums may bleed a little until the tooth is fully healed.
Most adults do not welcome loose teeth. An injured tooth can heal. There may also be underlying infections and other gum problems, so it’s best to have a dentist examine, diagnose, and address the problem.