While it’s quite normal for primary teeth to become loose, you may be concerned if any of your adult teeth feel loose. If you haven’t experienced any kind of trauma to your face, like from playing contact sports, then you may wonder if you should be concerned about increased tooth mobility. Take a look at two underlying conditions that can cause this issue and why you should reach out to your dentist for help.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is arguably the most common cause of loose adult teeth. If the oral bacteria that cause plaque builds up enough, it can cause your gum tissue to recede so much that your teeth become loose. Besides increased tooth mobility, you might have other symptoms, like red, bleeding, or painful gum tissue.
Another common cause of loose teeth is tooth clenching, or bruxism. While your teeth are expected to withstand a certain amount of force during chewing motions, bruxism places excessive force on ligaments that support your teeth. Besides increased tooth mobility, bruxism can cause frequent headaches and sore jaw muscles.
Only your dentist can tell you whether or not your loose tooth is a cause for concern. You should visit a dentist as soon as you can since increased tooth mobility may lead to serious issues. For example, if your loose tooth is caused by gum disease, you could risk losing the tooth entirely. Gum disease destroys jaw bone, ligaments, and other periodontal attachments that support teeth.
If your tooth mobility is caused by bruxism, then your teeth may wear down enough that you could require restorations—like implants, bridges, crowns, etc. This condition can also worsen or lead to TMJ disorders.
In short, you and your dentist should try to address your tooth mobility so that any underlying issues don’t cause more problems down the road.
If your loose teeth are caused by gum disease, then your dentist may proceed with various periodontal treatments. If your loose teeth are caused by bruxism, then your dentist may recommend making a mouthguard / nightguard to wear.
Your dentist might recommend gum flap surgery and/or scaling and root planing procedure. During a gum flap surgery, your dentist will reduce the gum tissue to access plaque that has settled below the gum line. Scaling and root planning is a procedure with similar outcomes, except your dentist uses curettes and scaling instruments to remove plaque below the gum line.
Whatever the deep cleaning method, your teeth should no longer be loose since your gum tissue will be able to attach more tightly. One study found that after periodontal treatment, there was a significant decrease in tooth mobility. Two years after these types of treatments, patients could continue to see a decrease in tooth mobility as long as they had frequent tooth cleanings.
Mouthguards / Nightguards
Like splints you’d wear on your arms or legs, the goal of a mouthguard or nightguard is to immobilize and stabilize an area of the body. Guards can be a great way to stabilize loose teeth for people with bruxism. There are many types of oral guards, but generally, they are divided into two categories: fixed and removable.
A fixed splint can be made of wire and composite resin. This splint is cemented to any loose tooth and then attached to any adjacent healthy teeth to distribute grinding forces. A removable mouthguard is a good option for people who clench their teeth while sleeping.
Reach out to Vanyo Dentistry for more information on improving tooth mobility whether it’s related to periodontal disease or bruxism.