When you’re growing up, a loose tooth can be exciting. But it gets a lot more concerning when you’re an adult. If your teeth fall out, they won’t grow back in. So if you’re dealing with a loose tooth, it’s important to determine the cause. Then it’s important to see a dentist.At Carolina Dental Arts, we offer emergency dental services seven days a week. We can assess the cause of your loose tooth and figure out what to do next.
Feeling the Tooth
You might be wondering whether your teeth are actually loose. What counts as “loose,” anyway?
As a general rule, loose teeth don’t have structural support. For whatever reason, they are detaching from your gums and jaw. The tooth doesn’t need to be very unstable to qualify as a loose tooth.
One of the most common ways people notice is through flossing. Your tooth might feel a little wobbly or unsteady as you floss. The same goes for when you brush your teeth or bite down on hard food.
Some common symptoms that accompany a loose tooth include:
- Recession of the gums
- Swollen gums
- Bloody gums
When the gums are showing symptoms, oftentimes the culprit is gum disease.
Causes of Loose Teeth
If you’re an adult, your teeth shouldn’t be loose. They’re supposed to last for as long as you’re alive. So a loose tooth indicates that there’s something amiss.
If you can’t remember dealing with any kind of injury, then gum disease is the most likely culprit. Gum disease sets in when you have problems with poor dental hygiene. Some people are also more predisposed toward gum disease on a genetic level.
It’s important to have routine dental cleanings for your health. These cleanings dig deeper than your toothbrush can, scraping away built-up plaque and tartar. Tartar is hardened plaque that can’t be removed with mere brushing. If it combines with bacteria below the gums, it can lead to infection.
When gum disease reaches an advanced stage, it leads to the gums pulling away from your teeth. This, in turn, can cause one or more teeth to feel loose.
If you treat gum disease when it’s still in the early stages, you can reverse it. There is a chance that a loose tooth caused by gum disease could tighten back up. You just need to have a dental cleaning and improve your dental hygiene practices.
An injury can cause your teeth to become loose. If you took a blow to your face or fell hard, your teeth might suffer for it. In these cases, you probably know exactly what caused the loosening.
Injury can also happen over time. If you constantly clench your jaw or grind your teeth, it wears them down. The tissue might become so thin that the teeth actually loosen. Some people don’t know that they grind their teeth because it only happens while they sleep.
If teeth grinding has caused a loose tooth, you might need to wear a mouthguard at night. This will prevent further grinding and keep your teeth from becoming damaged permanently.
Believe it or not, pregnancy can be behind a loose tooth. Pregnancy affects every part of the body, including the mouth. Your hormone changes might affect the bones and ligaments holding your teeth in place. If these ligaments are weakened or loose, the teeth might feel loose, too.
While this may sound scary, it’s actually not a huge deal. Once you’ve had your baby, the changes will go away. Your teeth should tighten back up.
But if you are pregnant and have loose teeth, you should still book a dentist appointment. That way, you can make sure that alternative causes like gum disease aren’t an issue.
Dentist visits are safe for pregnant people. The American Dental Association has written that restorative, diagnostic, and preventative dental care are all safe for pregnancy.
The final most common cause of loose teeth in adults is osteoporosis. This disease weakens your bones and causes them to break more easily. The condition is more common in older people, but can affect younger adults, too.
While the wrists, hips, and spine are most commonly affected, any bone can become weak. There is some research indicating that people with osteoporosis might experience bone loss around the jaw.
Your jawbone is responsible for anchoring and providing support for your teeth. If it loses its density, your teeth might lose their anchor. This can cause them to become loose and fall out.
Osteoporosis is most likely to be a concern if you’re older. The loss of jaw bone is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in elderly adults. While the condition can’t be prevented, there are ways to treat it. You can manage the symptoms and slow the progression of bone loss.
In any of these cases, a dentist should evaluate the situation to help save the tooth.
Here at Carolina Dental Arts, we want to make sure that every client has healthy teeth. Our New Bern Ave location offers emergency appointments to clients in the Raleigh and Durham areas. We are a Spanish-speaking practice that’s open weekends and nights. Give us a call to have us assess your loose tooth and determine the best course of action.