Loose Teeth & Bite Problems

As a child, once the permanent teeth come in, they are expected to last a lifetime but that is not always the case. In fact, it is quite common for adults to find themselves with a loose tooth or a tooth that needs to be extracted. Experiencing a loose tooth as an adult can make eating painful and challenging and can cause a decrease in both the quality of life and self-esteem of the patient. If a loose tooth is addressed right away, it is entirely possible that the tooth can be saved and will not need to be extracted.

What causes loose teeth in adults?

Gum disease is the number one cause for loose teeth and tooth loss in adults. The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and is indicated by puffy, swollen gums that bleed during oral hygiene. Gingivitis can usually be treated and any negative effects reverse if it is caught early however, leaving gingivitis left untreated can allow it to progress into advanced periodontitis which is much more severe and the effects of which cannot be reversed.

When plaque is left to sit along the gum line due to ineffective oral hygiene, it hardens into tartar and the bacteria get into the gum pockets causing the tissue to become red and swollen. A common treatment for gingivitis and even for mild periodontal disease is a scaling or root planing. This is a deep cleaning that requires anesthetic to be administered to the area being treated so that the hygienist can remove tartar buildup from below the gum line. Once a scaling and root planing has been completed, the gum tissue is able to heal closer to the surface of the teeth which restores the protective barrier needed for oral health.

When gingivitis advances into periodontitis, additional damage can occur. At this point, the gum tissue will begin to recede from the tooth structure allowing the surface of the route to become exposed which can be very painful for the patient and cause extreme sensitivity. When the gum tissue recedes, bone structure becomes vulnerable. When the jawbone begins to deteriorate, teeth are not able to withstand normal bite force and become loose. Teeth can eventually become so loose that they either fall out on their own or have to be extracted. Extracted teeth can be replaced with either a dental implant or a dental bridge.

How does your bite affect your teeth?

A patient’s bite can also have an effect on dental health. Bruxism is the unconscious clenching and/or grinding that a lot of patients do in their sleep and are completely unaware of it. Patients that suffer from bruxism may notice tenderness in the jaw and face upon waking and may experience frequent headaches. When too much force is applied to the teeth, it causes the periodontal ligaments that join the teeth to the jaw bone to stretch, in turn causing the teeth to become loose. Bruxism can also accelerate bone loss and excessive tooth wear. Your dentist can help alleviate your symptoms and prevent further damage by fabricating a custom night guard for you to sleep in!

Patients who experience bleeding during oral care or facial pain upon waking should visit their dentist as soon as possible. If you are developing gingivitis, your dentist will be able to provide treatment that can restore the health of your teeth and gums.

Permanent Tooth Feels Loose