Loose Teeth | Everything You Need to Know

Oral health plays a crucial role in the general body. This is why it is highly recommended to visit a dentist Brisbane for a regular checkup every six months. However, not many people adhere to such guidelines or observe good oral hygiene practices.

As a result, dental health statistics in Australia indicate:

  • A quarter of children aged between 5 and 10 have untreated decay in their baby teeth.
  • Out of every 25 people over 15 years, one person does not have any natural teeth left.

Oral health problems can limit the types of foods one eats as well as cause significant pain and discomfort. More so, they can affect one’s self-esteem, affecting how they relate with others. According to Dr Soha Sharif kids dentist in Brisbane, One of the most common problems associated with teeth is loosening. Though it’s more common within children, adults too can be affected.

Loose teeth can be remedied if you take the necessary steps to address them. This white paper explores loose teeth from their causes, prevention tips, and how to remedy them.

What is a Loose Tooth?

Looseness in teeth occurs when the tooth gradually detaches from the gums and bone, thus lacking the necessary support to hold it firmly in place. Any form of contact, such as touching it or the pressure from chewing food can cause further loosening.

For adults, especially, loose teeth are often accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Gum recession
  • Red gums

At the onset, such symptoms may seem insignificant. However, they may be a sign of an underlying disease. Therefore, it is essential to visit a dentist as soon as you notice a loose tooth.

Loose Teeth in Children

One of the rites of passage your child shall go through as they grow into an adolescent is losing their baby teeth. Usually, this occurs between the ages of six and twelve. As the tooth continues to detach from the gum and bone (with some encouragement, of course), it should come off with relative ease and little pain.

However, some teeth prove to be stubborn and difficult to remove. In such cases, you may not be sure whether to force it out or wait for it to become loose. For your child, the thought of a painful process can be intimidating.

Here are some things you should know about loose teeth in children:

1.         Do Not Force It

When it comes to removing baby teeth, you must be very patient. This is because loose teeth can take a long time before they fall out completely, and they do so at different rates. Remember that the tooth is attached to the bone and gums. Trying to force it out will only subject your child to unnecessary pain. Instead, you can encourage and assist the child in wiggling the tooth gently until it’s loose enough to fall off.

2.         Expect Some Blood

Even for the fastest and easiest baby tooth removal, your child will experience some pain, and there will be a little blood loss. Once the tooth has fallen off, your child should rinse their mouth with clean water.

3.         Give Your Child a Cold Compress

After the tooth has come out, your child will feel some pain and soreness in the exposed area. Numb the area using an ice pack to help reduce the discomfort. If it persists, you can use suitable over-the-counter pain medicine for children.

Loosening of Permanent Teeth

By the time one reaches their early teens, all their baby teeth should have fallen off and replaced with permanent teeth. As the name suggests, this set of teeth should serve you until old age and have no natural replacement.

Unfortunately, due to causes such as medical conditions caused by poor oral hygiene, the build-up of plaque, or impact and injuries, permanent teeth can loosen. When this happens, there’s a considerable risk of a tooth falling off, leaving you one short.

Do Loose Permanent Teeth Tighten on Their Own?

In many cases, for both adults and children, a loose tooth is caused by impact. If the injury is mild, and the tooth is only slightly loose, it can retighten on its own. However, during the healing period, it should be left untouched for the gums to retighten and hold it firmly back in place.

Nonetheless, it’s always recommended to visit a Paediatric dentist, especially when it’s a child. They will help stabilise the loose tooth in an adult with a splint, allowing the gums and ligaments to heal enough to hold the tooth in place.

Steps to Take When Your Child’s Tooth Becomes Loose

When playing, your child can fall or get hit by something, causing a tooth to become loose. When this happens, immediate action is necessary to assess the extent of the injury and take remedial measures. Have them bite down on gauze gently to reduce the bleeding. If there’s swelling, give them an ice cube or ice pop to suck.

From there, call your dentist for further advice and to schedule an appointment.

What Happens When an Adult Tooth Falls Out?

When the impact is significant, your child’s adult tooth may be knocked right out of their gum. If this happens, there’s a chance to salvage the tooth and have it restored, but you need to act quickly. Begin by locating the tooth and rinsing it very gently in milk. If milk is not available, you can use water or saliva. 

Press it back into position after rinsing and make sure your fingers do not touch the roots. Give your child gauze and ask them to bite down on the tooth gently and schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist.

If your child is too young, do not return the tooth to the socket as they may be unable to hold it in place, making it a choking hazard. Instead, make sure that the tooth does not become dry. You can achieve this by placing it in milk or saliva and take it and go to the dentist immediately as every second count at this time.

Causes of Loose Teeth

Other than impact, there are other causes of loose adult teeth. These are often the cause of loose teeth in adults. While you are brushing or flossing, you may notice some looseness or your dentist may notice it during your routine checkup.

Either way, it’s often an indication of something that needs to be addressed.

1. Gum Disease

Among adults, the primary cause of loose teeth is advanced gum disease. It occurs when a bacterial infection caused by plaque build-up attacks your gums and surrounding tissue and bones. Without proper oral hygiene (brushing and flossing as recommended), tartar will build up in the spaces between teeth and gums. This then creates a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to infections.

Fortunately, gum disease can be treated, restoring your teeth to optimal health. However, if left untreated, it can cause your bones to deteriorate, weakening the support system for teeth.

2. Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body will increase. When this happens, your periodontium (bones and ligaments that help keep teeth in place), can be affected, causing one or more teeth to become loose.

Fortunately, these symptoms will subside after pregnancy. If you notice a loose tooth during pregnancy, it is still important to visit a dentist to make sure gum disease is not the cause.

How to Prevent Loose Teeth

Loose teeth can cause a lot of pain and distress. Fortunately, other than unforeseeable injuries, it is relatively easy to prevent them. Some of the steps to take include:

  • Brushing your teeth thoroughly two times a day
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Flossing daily
  • Keeping appointments for regular dental checkups
  • Seeking prescriptions for vitamin D and calcium to prevent osteoporosis
  • Wearing fitting mouthguards for sports activities

Treatments for Loose Teeth in Adults

In most cases, loose teeth in adults are attributed to gum disease. Depending on the severity, treatment options will vary. At first, your dentist will perform a dental cleaning procedure referred to as scaling to remove plaque underneath the teeth. This will be followed up with root planing to smoothen the surface of the roots to facilitate quick reattachment to the gum.

If the condition is extreme, there are surgical options that will be explored:

  • Bone grafting – Surgery that involves repairing damaged bones in your mouth by taking bone fragments from other parts of the body.
  • Flap surgery – To prevent tooth loss, dentists make incisions in the gums to pull back the tissue to perform scaling and root planing.
  • Bite adjustment – Procedure is done to reduce pressure on teeth caused by grinding. The dentist will shave off bits of your enamel to adjust your bite-size.

Never Take Chances

Loose teeth can be a very deceptive oral problem. At first, the tooth can be marginally loose without any pain or discomfort, making it easy to ignore. However, even if it can heal on its own, it is highly advisable to visit your dentist to make sure it does not become worse.

Puredentistry.com.au and kids-dentist.com.au are dental clinics in Brisbane that use the latest technology and techniques to help patients recover. Get in touch with us to book an appointment with one of our experienced dentists in Brisbane.