When children are about 6 years old, their baby teeth (milk teeth) start to become loose and fall out to make way for permanent teeth. But if teeth feel loose in adults, it’s not normal. Here’s what could be going on and what you can do to fix loose teeth.
Is it normal for teeth to feel slightly loose?
It’s not normal for adult teeth to feel slightly loose. The only time loose teeth are normal is when a child is about to lose milk teeth to make way for permanent teeth.
Is it normal for permanent teeth to wiggle?
It is not normal for permanent teeth to wiggle. A wiggling tooth is only normal when a child’s milk tooth wiggles before it falls out.
What makes my teeth feel loose?
Some possible causes that can make your teeth feel loose include:
Gum disease: The growth of bacteria in your gums can cause gum recession (pulling back of the gums from the teeth). This makes it harder for the gums to hold the teeth in place, making your teeth feel loose. Gum disease can also bone loss, thereby weakening the tooth root and causing and loose teeth. If your teeth feel loose due to gum disease, you will need deep cleaning in a dental office to get rid of the plaque below the gum line.
Excessive teeth grinding: If you have a habit of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw excessively, it can weaken the ligaments that attach your teeth to bone, making your teeth feel loose. Bruxism (grinding teeth) and gum disease together are major causes of loose teeth. Talk to your dentist about wearing a night guard if teeth grinding is a problem.
Trauma or injuries: Sports injuries, accidents, and fights can make your teeth feel loose due to dental trauma. Sometimes, a tooth can be completely knocked out from your mouth. This is a dental emergency and that needs immediate attention from a dental professional to save a knocked-out tooth.
Can a loose tooth be tightened back up?
If your teeth feel loose, your dentist may be able to stabilize them with splinting (attaching them to adjacent teeth). This is a temporary solution for a few weeks, but it allows the ligaments that attach teeth to bone to heal. The splint wire is made of resin and sometimes an additional plastic splint is used as well.
If you have extensive gum disease, it may not be possible to save loose teeth. In this case, your dentist can pull any loose tooth and give you dental bridges or implants to fill the gaps.
What should I do if my teeth feel loose?
If one or more teeth feel loose, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, avoid eating crunchy or sticky foods that can further loosen your teeth. Also, avoid wiggling the loose teeth with your tongue or finger as this can make them weaker. Never try to pull a loose tooth at home. Permanent teeth are more strongly attached to bone than milk teeth and pulling a tooth at home can put you at high risk of complications such as bleeding, infection, and leaving a part of the tooth in the socket.
If your teeth feel loose and you want to see a dentist, give us a call at Express Dentist. We have a nationwide network of trusted dental professionals and we will be happy to put you in touch with a dentist in your area.
About the author
Dr. Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo DDS studied at the University of Washington where he received a bachelors degree with Honors and later attended dental school on the same campus. Following school Dr. Greg served in the United States Navy as a dental officer. During this time he received advanced training in specialty areas of dentistry while also treating families of members of the military.
As well as sharing valuable information on dentistry and oral health, Dr. Greg remains a practicing dentist to this day. He works with families in the Okanogan Valley where he lives with his wife and three children.