In adults, a loose tooth should never be ignored, even when there is no pain or discomfort.
This is because it could well be a sign of gum disease which might eventually result in pain and tooth loss.
Loosened teeth are often – but not always – the result of oral hygiene standards which are not good enough, when plaque has hardened into tartar and has invaded underneath the gums, weakening the structure surrounding the teeth, thereby allowing the tooth to move. The real danger here is that because plaque carries bacteria which spread to the gums, the gums may well become infected.
There is a technique to brushing teeth which many of us fail to use, so if your gums bleed when brushing or they are causing you pain or discomfort, see your dentist, because this problem will not simply go away on its own.
Changes in hormone levels, particularly those which occur during pregnancy, can also affect the support around your teeth, the periodontium. Normally this will resolve itself after pregnancy, but pregnancy is not a reason to avoid regular dental checkups. In fact, it is even more important to avoid gum disease whilst pregnant.
Osteoporosis is another cause of loose teeth, because it can result in weakened jaw bones, normally i later adult life.
Injury to the mouth should always be checked, even if there is no pain, because any damage not seen could present as pain the future, requiring corrective treatment.
Whilst waiting to see your dentists for any of the reasons above, don’t tamper with the loose teeth. Don’t pull, wiggle or push the teeth, because that will just make the issue worse. If a tooth is really loose, you could pull it out, but without the means to avoid infection. Just very gently brush to remove any food particles and leave it at that.
When you see your dentist, there are different possible treatments:
Deep cleaning – This will be carried out if your dentist believes it will rid you of any infection and allow your tooth to heal. If successful, the gums will once again create a tight fit around the tooth.
Removal – The tooth may have to be removed and replaced with an implant.
Bonding – Whereby the loose tooth is bonded to those surrounding it.
How to prevent a loose tooth
Teeth, gums and tongue are damaged by smoking. Stop smoking.
Damage is also caused by neglect. Be sure to see your dentist every six months – and more if you are experiencing discomfort or pain.
Ask your GP to check your calcium and vitamin D levels, and also whether any medication you are taking could impact on the health of your teeth.
When you next see your dentist, ask for guidance on technique for brushing teeth and how to floss. Many of us are failing to carry out this daily task effectively.