A loose tooth is cute when a small child awaits a visit from the tooth fairy. But if you’re an adult, finding a loose tooth in your mouth can be understandably alarming.
If you’ve discovered one or more of your teeth are loose, there are some possible causes.
Early gum disease is known as gingivitis. At this stage, the only signs may be slightly red, swollen, or bleeding gums. It usually causes no pain, and up to half of adults have it and don’t know it. Gingivitis is treatable and reversible with proper dental care.
If, however, the gingivitis goes untreated, it progresses to periodontitis. This more serious form of gum disease causes irritation and inflammation in the gums, which eventually destroys gum tissue. The result is loose teeth and finally, a loss of teeth.
Because gum disease is treatable, the best defense you have against it is seeing your dentist every six months and following good oral care habits every day.
Getting hit in the mouth can be extremely painful. If it’s a minor blow, usually the tooth remains intact and feels better within a day or two. But hard hits to the mouth in sports or accidents can knock a tooth loose by damaging the supportive ligaments and bone that surround the tooth. In addition, chronic grinding can cause stress on the teeth, gums, and structures in the mouth, leading to loose teeth over time.
Sometimes accidents happen, and that’s why having a skilled dentist on your side for emergencies is crucial. But to avoid unnecessary trauma to teeth, athletes should wear appropriate mouth guards and head protection. And if you grind your teeth, a nighttime guard should be used regularly to protect teeth.
Pregnancy can affect a woman’s body in many ways that aren’t related to the growing belly. Pregnancy hormones naturally allow ligaments to relax, which means the ligaments in the mouth may start to feel looser. Although this is usually not serious, pregnant woman should have loose teeth checked by their dentist. Pregnant women can rest assured that dental work has been proven to be safe for mom and baby.
Osteoporosis affects over 50 million Americans, and causes bones to lose density and strength. Studies have shown this condition may also make you more likely to experience loose teeth and tooth loss. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or are taking any medications for bone density, be sure to tell your dentist.
No matter the cause, loose teeth need your dentist’s attention. Don’t ignore dental problems that might get worse. Contact the office of Craig Armstrong, DDS to schedule your appointment with our expert dental care team!