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What Are the Treatments for Loose Teeth in Adults?

A cross section of a tooth.
Brushing the teeth twice a day may help prevent gingivitis, the most common cause of loose teeth.
Teeth grinding may cause loose teeth in adults.
The stages of periodontal disease, which can cause loose teeth.
Loose teeth caused by gingivitis can be partly treated with regular flossing.
If a loose tooth must be extracted, it can be replaced with a dental implant.
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  • Written By: Rebecca Harkin
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 08 April 2014
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The common causes of loose teeth in adults are gingivitis, bruxism, and mouth trauma. There are several treatments for loose teeth which are unique to each cause, including prevention methods, dental procedures and protective guards. Loose teeth are often indicative of a serious dental issue in adults, and should be evaluated by a dentist or orthodontist.

Periodontal disease, or gingivitis, is the most common cause of loose teeth in adults. Gingivitis is a swelling of the gums caused by a build-up of plaque, or a hardened coating of bacteria. If left untreated, the gums begin to recede and are no longer able to support the teeth and the teeth become loose.

Brushing and flossing at least twice a day is the best gingivitis prevention method, Once periodontal disease sets in, it can be treated by scaling and root planing. Scaling is the process of scraping off the plaque at the tooth base and the root. Root planing is a deeper cleaning that removes a part of the dentin, or surface of the root which has been pervaded by the plaque. If the patient keeps the teeth clean by regularly brushing and flossing after undergoing scaling and planing, the gums will heal and the teeth will tighten up.

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Bruxism, or teeth grinding, places great strain and stress on the teeth and frequently leads to loose teeth in adults. Mouth guards generally are soft, protective mouthpieces which encase the teeth to prevent contact between the top and bottom sets of teeth. These protective guards are available in three different types: stock mouth guards, custom-fitted mouth protectors, and boil mouth protectors.

Stock mouth protectors are the cheapest form of protection and come prepackaged, with little room for adjustment. Boil mouth protectors can be heated in hot water and then formed to the teeth by applying pressure. Custom-fitted mouth protectors are made by a dentist. First, an impression or model is made of the teeth and then the mouth guard is fitted to the impression. Custom-fitted mouth guards normally are expensive, but are a good investment for chronic bruxism.

Mouth trauma can produce loose teeth in adults, and should be immediately evaluated by a dentist. In many cases, if the patient avoids the loose tooth while chewing and refrains from activities which may cause further mouth trauma, the tooth will tighten back up in a few weeks. If the blow is bad enough, a dentist may splint the tooth. A tooth splint, usually made from a composite-resin material and wire, links the loose tooth to adjacent, tightly anchored teeth to stabilize the loose tooth while the gum tissue strengthens around the root. If the tooth does not tighten up and it is causing pain or discomfort, a dentist can extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant or artificial tooth.

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Discuss this Article

croydon
Post 3

@umbra21 - I can't wait for dental technology to hurry up and get to the point where we won't need loose tooth treatment or any other kind of treatment again, unless we have an accident. It's entirely possible that it could happen in our lifetimes. I've heard of research going on into bacteria that would live in our teeth and stop plaque from forming, for example. That would stop gum disease, which means we would probably not even need to brush.

umbra21
Post 2

@Ana1234 - Well, people have a vastly different diet today than they used to have and we also live a lot longer. There are animals out there who shed their adult teeth and grow another set, but usually they are animals who put huge amounts of pressure on their teeth. We don't really put that much pressure on ours, especially not these days. And with all the dentistry technology out there, there isn't a lot of selection pressure on us to be born with perfect teeth now.

If anything, there is selection pressure for us to have smaller jaws and heads, because it makes it easier for mothers to give birth. That's why people are often born with teeth that seem crammed together and have all kinds of problems with them.

Ana1234
Post 1

I've read that flossing is the most important thing you can do to protect your teeth. I never used to floss when I was younger and I was always getting cavities even though I brushed regularly. Now that I try to floss every day, it's not so bad, although I suspect I'll have problems later on simply because there has already been damage done.

Apparently, if you aren't careful about brushing and flossing, you can end up with bone damage in your jaw. The idea of that really freaks me out, so I'm pretty careful. But I can't help but wonder why our teeth are so easy to damage. You would have thought we'd evolve past having such delicate things in our bodies by now. It just seems like loose adult teeth should be a selection pressure, since losing your teeth would be such a disadvantage for any animal.

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