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Loose Teeth

  1. Should I be concerned about loose teeth?
  2. What causes loosening of teeth?
  3. What can be done about loose teeth?

1. Should I be concerned about loose teeth?

  • Yes, you should. Loose teeth can lead to serious problems.
    • Food trapped between teeth can cause gum disease and loosening of teeth.
    • The ability to chew properly can be impaired.
    • Teeth moving out of their normal positions can make the mouth less attractive.
    • Loose teeth will eventually have to be extracted if they are not attended to.

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2. What causes loosening of teeth?

      The most common causes are:
  • Gum disease
    • Gum Disease is the major cause of loose teeth.
    • The gums and supporting bone are destroyed.
    • Loose teeth and receding gums are a symptom of gum disease.
  • Malocclusion
    • Teeth meeting the wrong way during chewing.
    • Extra stress is put on the teeth that come together before all the other teeth meet. This causes the surrounding bone to thin. It is then not able to hold the tooth firmly in place.
  • Bruxism or the habitual grinding or clenching of teeth.
  • Trauma to teeth during sporting or other accidents.
Click to enlarge
X-ray of bone loss
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Gum disease
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Illustration of x-ray showing
gum disease and bone loss

See Gum Disease and Bruxism

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3. What can be done about loose teeth?

  • The cause of the loosening must be found and treated.
  • Treating the gum disease that has caused the loosening can firm up the teeth.
  • Teeth loosened by malocclusion (bad bite) can firm up when the bite is corrected by orthodontic treatment and/or replacement crowns.
    • The new crowns will fit over the natural crowns.
    • They will be made to correct the previous imbalance in the size and position of the teeth.
  • Teeth that are loosened by a grinding habit can be firmed by wearing a night guard, that fits over teeth and prevents grinding. It is usually worn at night.
  • Teeth loosened by a blow often firm up with time.
    • Resting the loose tooth is important.
    • Try not to chew on it for a while.
  • If these measures are not successful, the loose teeth can be stabilised by joining them to firmer ones, using a splint.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Nightguard over teeth

See Gum Disease and Injury to Teeth

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