Why is my molar loose?

When you are a child and your tooth comes loose, it can be a fun part of growing up! A loose tooth as an adult is quite another story and often cause for concern. When a tooth becomes loose without having experienced some sort of trauma, there is usually an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. There are a number of factors that can lead to loose teeth in adults, including trauma but most often gum disease.

Our teeth are held in place by our jaw bones and gum tissue as well as ligaments that help keep them attached to the bone. When the ligaments get damaged, the tooth will slowly detach from the gum tissue and jaw bone. Biting and chewing on a tooth that is already loose can loosen the tooth further and be very painful.

Symptoms of gum disease that can lead to a loose tooth as an adult include:
* Puffy, tender gums
* Gums that bleed during flossing and brushing
* Gum recession

It is important to visit your dentist if you experience any of these issues or if you notice a loose tooth. Without immediate treatment, the tooth can become hopeless and will need to be extracted.

How does an adult get a loose tooth?

Gum Disease

Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults and is a direct result of poor oral hygiene. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and can usually be treated and the negative effects can often be reversed if it is caught early. Left untreated, gingivitis can rapidly progress into periodontitis which is much more severe and the effects of which are irreversible.

Early on, gingivitis presents as tender, puffy gums that bleed when you brush and floss your teeth. Your dentists can treat gingivitis with a deep cleaning to remove tartar buildup below the gum line. As it advances, gum disease can lead to gum recession where the surface of the tooth roots is exposed causing pain and sensitivity. As it progresses, periodontitis will eventually lead to bone loss and loose teeth.


Bruxism is the clenching and/or grinding that some patients do in their sleep. If you wake up with pain in your jaw or headaches and facial pain, you may be grinding your teeth at night. Bruxism can significantly damage your teeth by wearing them down, becoming loose, and possibly even causing them to fracture.

Accident or trauma

Experiencing a fall or a hit to the face playing a sport or other physical event can cause an adult to have loose teeth. Wearing a mouthguard during sporting events can greatly reduce the possibility of tooth damage even if you take a hit to the face. If you are in an accident and get a loose tooth, visit your dentist as soon as possible so they can assess the area and prevent further damage or tooth loss.

If you have a loose tooth that is deemed hopeless, your dentist will likely advise you to have the tooth extracted before damage can occur to neighboring teeth. There are a number of restorative options available to give patients a complete, healthy smile!

Can a Loose Tooth Fix Itself