In several Middle Eastern and European cultures, dreams of having loose teeth are considered a sign of bad things to come. Fortunately, superstitions are just cultural traditions that people carry with them from generation to generation and nothing more. In the West, we generally think that dreaming of loose teeth means impending stress about some change in our life.
Moving from dreams to the real world, however, it isn’t rare for you to experience a loose tooth.
For adults, a loose tooth can be unsettling. Let’s look at the causes of a loose tooth and what can be done to tighten it up.
Why Is Your Tooth Loose?
Good oral hygiene & health is important, plain & simple. People should always be aware of what is going on in their mouths. Ideally, everyone should spend a few seconds checking for any issues in their gums and teeth, more often than not.
The reason being, a daily inspection of healthy gums can keep the possibility of loose teeth at bay.
Now, there are several different reasons for loose teeth in adults, and each one may require a different treatment. That’s for us professionals to identify, however, so self-diagnosis can be thrown out the window for now:
One of the most common dental issues we deal with is periodontitis (gum disease). This condition is an infection and inflammation of the gums. Poor oral hygiene and neglect of your dental health is the leading cause of gum disease occurring.
This goes far beyond a simple rinse. When we do not brush our teeth properly, plaque develops. The bacteria in plaque causes it to harden and stick to teeth persistently. This hardened plaque (tartar) forces gums to pull away from the tooth.
With the gums receding from the tooth, there is no longer enough support to hold it steadily in place.
And that’s why the tooth becomes loose.
Other than tartar and gum recession, you may also experience tender, swollen or red gums. If gum disease persists, you may even notice that your teeth fit together differently. The earlier you visit a periodontist’s office to address this, the better the chances of saving it.
Injury is the most obvious reason for a loose tooth. Anything from a sports injury to a car accident can cause damage to your teeth and the surrounding tissue. We include teeth clenching and grinding in this category since they are forms of long-term injury.
Early detection is key, and in such cases, we offer dental emergency services as well. The sooner we assess the situation, the quicker we can find the best solution for you.
Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones where the otherwise solid bone mass becomes porous. This results in easily broken bones with even the slightest impact. And although we associate the condition with older folks, osteoporosis can affect a wide range of us.
Generally speaking, though, it tends to affect women over the age of 50.
The disease tends to affect the spine, hips, and wrists but can also cause deterioration of the bones in the jaw. Fortunately, osteoporosis patients receive treatment with special drugs. Though rare, some of these prescribed drugs may pose a greater risk of gum disease.
If you are suffering from osteoporosis, let us know of any medication you are taking when you visit our office with a loose tooth.
One of the happiest occurrences in your life can coincidentally cause you to experience loose teeth.
The elevated levels of progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can affect the tissue in your mouth enough to cause a loose tooth. The raised levels of these hormones can cause changes in the bones and ligaments that support your teeth. These bones and tissues are collectively called the periodontium and are responsible for keeping your teeth securely in place.
Luckily, these changes to the periodontium resolve themselves after the woman has given birth. Just in case, though, we should have a look to rule out any other causes which may be responsible for the loose tooth.
Home Remedies for Loose Teeth
There are a few home remedies that people use in an attempt to strengthen a tooth’s connection with the gums. These include saltwater gargles that are effective at dealing with infected gums to a degree.
Saltwater gargles are as simple as mixing a tablespoon of salt in about six ounces of warm water. You then swish the saltwater in your mouth for a few minutes, spit it out, and repeat several times. If the damage to the area is minimal, the gums can strengthen to hold the tooth tighter in place.
At this point, I need to mention that rinses and other home remedies cannot restore a situation that has existed for too long.
If gum disease causes significant damage to a tooth, you will need to arrange a visit with your dentist to address the long-term deterioration.
How We Fix Patients’ Loose Teeth
Depending on the underlying cause, there are several things I can do to treat a loose tooth. After I’ve made a diagnosis, I will apply one of the following:
Medication or Mouth Rinses
The purpose of these is to help infected gums heal by fighting the bacteria that has damaged them.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a method of deep cleaning that can treat and even turn back time by reversing gum disease.
Soft Tissue Grafts
Soft tissue grafts are useful in stopping further damage from gum disease.
Bone grafts work by helping to rebuild any bone that has been lost to gum disease.
On top of the treatments I offer my patients, I also stress the importance of preventative measures for your oral health. You don’t have to wait until you’re experiencing a loose tooth to apply these best practices.
Preventative Measures You Can Take
- brushing your teeth
- quitting smoking
- having regular dental checkups
- getting adequate vitamin D and calcium
- wearing a mouthguard while playing sports
- trying tooth splinting for nighttime grinding
- informing your dentist about a medication you are taking that might affect your teeth
Are Loose Teeth a Lost Cause?
I’d like to be able to save all of my patients’ teeth. However, sometimes a loose tooth ends up having to come out. If the underlying cause for your loose tooth is too far gone, there are restorative actions we can take to ensure you maintain a complete smile, such as dental implants. In any case, there is no need to panic.
Get in Touch with a Dental Professional
If you experience a loose tooth in the Miami area, contact us at Gallardo Periodontics today at 305-447-1447. Our staff can schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Also, you can fill out our contact form. We respond to requests promptly.