Your adult set of teeth is also called your permanent, or secondary set of teeth. As such, it can be distressing when one of these teeth becomes loose—meaning that they may not be as permanent as you thought. Often a permanent tooth will become loose due to the long-term consequences of neglected oral hygiene. This slow process won't necessarily be accompanied by pain, but it's fairly likely that some discomfort will be experienced. You may not have been taking appropriate care of your teeth over the years, nor have you been visiting your dentist for regular checkups, and now the survival of your tooth will depend on some help from modern dentistry.
You might notice a loose tooth while eating or may first detect its increased mobility with your tongue. However it comes to your attention, you must leave it alone. Resist the temptation to further investigate its looseness, and don't touch it at all. Contact your dentist for an urgent appointment.
Splinting the Tooth
Your dentist will first try to determine the reason why a permanent tooth has become loose and will assess whether this is reversible. It will usually be necessary to stabilize the tooth and this involves splinting it. The tooth is attached to its neighbors using a special reinforced fiber. This immobilizes the tooth, preventing further movement, which allows your dentist to restabilize it.
The restabilization process will depend on the exact cause of the tooth's looseness. If periodontal disease (a gum infection) is the cause, this disease must be managed. Your dentist will scale your teeth, removing accumulated plaque and tartar, which will reduce the bacterial contamination inside your mouth. Root planing may also be performed, which removes accumulated contaminants from the roots of your teeth. This strengthens your roots, which can restabilize your tooth. You may also need antibiotics to further reduce the influx of bacteria that are attacking your gums.
For extreme cases, minor oral surgery may be necessary. Small portions of severely inflamed gum tissue and damaged bone might need to be removed. Removal of damaged tissue encourages healing and the regrowth of the remaining tissues, which can help your loose tooth to stabilize.
A loose tooth due to periodontal disease is an unfortunate development, and not all loose permanent teeth can be saved. However, if you consult a dentist for prompt treatment of your periodontal disease, it may be possible to avoid having the tooth extracted.
Contact a local dental office to learn more about dentistry.